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Strong exciton–photon coupling in an organic semiconductor microcavity


The modification and control of exciton–photon interactions in semiconductors is of both fundamental1,2,3,4 and practical interest, being of direct relevance to the design of improved light-emitting diodes, photodetectors and lasers5,6,7. In a semiconductor microcavity, the confined electromagnetic field modifies the optical transitions of the material. Two distinct types of interaction are possible: weak and strong coupling1,2,3,4. In the former perturbative regime, the spectral and spatial distribution of the emission is modified but exciton dynamics are little altered. In the latter case, however, mixing of exciton and photon states occurs leading to strongly modified dynamics. Both types of effect have been observed in planar microcavity structures in inorganic semiconductor quantum wells and bulk layers1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. But organic semiconductor microcavities have been studied only in the weak-coupling regime9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18. Here we report an organic semiconductor microcavity that operates in the strong-coupling regime. We see characteristic mixing of the exciton and photon modes (anti-crossing), and a room-temperature vacuum Rabi splitting (an indicator of interaction strength) that is an order of magnitude larger than the previously reported highest values for inorganic semiconductors. Our results may lead to new structures and device concepts incorporating hybrid states of organic and inorganic excitons19, and suggest that polariton lasing20,21,22 may be possible.

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Figure 1: The absorption spectrum of a blend film of 4TBPPZn in polystyrene.
Figure 2: The general structure of the λ/2 microcavities used in this work.
Figure 3: Reflectivity spectra measured at room temperature as the cavity photon mode is angle-tuned through the 4TBPPZn exciton transition.
Figure 4: Evaluation of the Rabi splitting energy and demonstration of its dependence on exciton oscillator strength.


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We thank T. Richardson for the 4TBPPZn samples. D.G.L. thanks Lloyds of London for a Tercentenary research fellowship and D.D.C.B. thanks the Leverhulme Trust for a Leverhulme fellowship. This work was supported by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

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Correspondence to D. G. Lidzey.

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Lidzey, D., Bradley, D., Skolnick, M. et al. Strong exciton–photon coupling in an organic semiconductor microcavity. Nature 395, 53–55 (1998).

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