We present a solid state polymer microcavity dye laser, fabricated by thermal nanoimprint lithography (NIL) in a dye-doped thermoplast. The thermoplast poly-methylmethacrylate (PMMA) is used due to its high transparency in the visible range and its robustness to laser radiation. The laser dye is Rhodamine 6G ClO4. This dye is shown to withstand temperatures up to 240 °C without bleaching, which makes it compatible with the thermal nanoimprint lithography process. The 1.55 µm thick dye-doped PMMA devices are fabricated on a SiO2 substrate, yielding planar waveguiding in the dye-doped PMMA with two propagating TE–TM modes. The laser cavity has the lateral shape of a trapezoid, supporting lasing modes by reflection on the vertical cavity walls. The solid polymer dye lasers emit laterally through one of the vertical cavity walls, when pumped optically through the top surface by means of a frequency doubled, pulsed Nd:YAG laser. Lasing in the wavelength region from 560 to 570 nm is observed from a laser with a side-length of 50 µm. In this proof of concept, the lasers are multimode with a mode wavelength separation of approximately 1.6 nm, as determined by the waveguide propagation constant(s) and cavity dimensions. The stamps used in this work were fabricated by UV-lithography, limiting the lateral dimensional control of the devices. The resolution of NIL is ultimately limited by the quality of the stamps. Using electron beam lithography for stamp fabrication, the NIL process presented here offers the possibility for adding mode-selecting elements, e.g., diffractive- or sub-wavelength optical elements. ©2004 American Institute of Physics
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