13 October 1994 Perylene, pyrromethene and grafted rhodamine-doped xerogels for tunable solid state laser
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Organic dye molecules have been widely used in solution as amplifying media in tunable lasers. The possibility of trapping these molecules in a solid state matrix may lead to a new field of application outside the laboratory. Many types of matrices can be used. We present results with new hybrid organic/inorganic xerogels prepared by hydrolysis-condensation of the methyl- or vinyl-triethoxysilane precursor under acid-catalyzed hydrolysis and basic-catalyzed condensation. Organic methyl or vinyl groups attached to the silica network provide a favorable environment to dye fluorescence. We have studied the effect induced by using different basic catalysts: N-(2-aminoethyl)-3-aminopropyltrimethoxysilane and 3- aminopropyltriethoxysilane are found to lead to the best matrix characteristics. Perylenes and pyrromethenes were chosen because of their thermal- and photo-stability. After gelation, 10 mm thick samples, polished to a surface roughness of about 4 nm, are placed in a plano- concave cavity as gain media and pumped by a frequency doubled nanosecond Q:switched Nd:YAG laser. Efficiency is the greatest with a pyrromethene 597 doped sample: more than 6 mJ output energy for a 10 mJ pump energy (2 J/cm2 fluence) leading to a slope efficiency of 63%. The lifetime of the laser emission when the same point of the sample is sequentially used is also an important characteristic. Best results are obtained with perylene red dye: for a pump energy of 0.7 mJ at 1 Hz repetition rate, the output energy is still 50% of the initial value (0.1 mJ) after 80,000 shots. For a pyrromethene 597 doped MTEOS sample, it appears that the measured lifetimes are independent of the operating frequency in the 0.2 - 20 Hz range, indicating a reasonable heat conductivity for this type of matrix. We have also studied tunability by adding a grating or prism to the cavity: a typical tunability of over 50 nm or more is obtained with many of these dyes. Finally we report laser activity obtained with rhodamine B doped xerogels in which the dye molecules were covalently bonded to the silica network in order to stabilize the organic molecule structure.
© (1994) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Michael Canva, Michael Canva, Arnaud Dubois, Arnaud Dubois, Patrick M. Georges, Patrick M. Georges, Alain Brun, Alain Brun, Frederic Chaput, Frederic Chaput, Agnes Ranger, Agnes Ranger, Jean-Pierre Boilot, Jean-Pierre Boilot, } "Perylene, pyrromethene and grafted rhodamine-doped xerogels for tunable solid state laser", Proc. SPIE 2288, Sol-Gel Optics III, (13 October 1994); doi: 10.1117/12.188963; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.188963


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