Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Organo-erbium systems for optical amplification at telecommunications wavelengths

Abstract

Modern telecommunications rely on the transmission and manipulation of optical signals. Optical amplification plays a vital part in this technology, as all components in a real telecommunications system produce some loss. The two main issues with present amplifiers, which rely on erbium ions in a glass matrix, are the difficulty in integration onto a single substrate and the need of high pump power densities to produce gain. Here we show a potential organic optical amplifier material that demonstrates population inversion when pumped from above using low-power visible light. This system is integrated into an organic light-emitting diode demonstrating that electrical pumping can be achieved. This opens the possibility of direct electrically driven optical amplifiers and optical circuits. Our results provide an alternative approach to producing low-cost integrated optics that is compatible with existing silicon photonics and a different route to an effective integrated optics technology.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Optical spectra of organo-erbium materials.
Figure 2: Time dependence of erbium 4I13/24I15/2 photoluminescence from the doped film.
Figure 3: Schematics of the waveguide structure used for gain measurements.
Figure 4: Normalized electroluminescence from doped and undoped OLEDs.

References

  1. Mears, R. J., Reekie, L., Jauncey, I. M. & Payne, D. N. Low-noise erbium-doped fiber amplifier at 1.54 μm. Electron. Lett. 23, 1026–1028 (1987).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Slooff, L. H. et al. Optical properties of erbium-doped organic polydentate cage complexes. J. Appl. Phys. 83, 497–503 (1998).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Gillin, W. P. & Curry, R. J. Erbium (III) tris(8-hydroxyquinoline) (ErQ): A potential material for silicon compatible 1.5 μm emitters. Appl. Phys. Lett. 74, 798–799 (1999).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Curry, R. J. & Gillin, W. P. 1.5 μm electroluminescence from erbium (III) tris(8-hydroxyquinoline) (ErQ) based organic light emitting diodes. Appl. Phys. Lett. 75, 1380–1382 (1999).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Hasegawa, Y., Wada, Y. & Yanagida, S. Strategies for the design of luminescent lanthanide (III) complexes and their photonic applications. J. Photochem. Photobiol. C 5, 183–202 (2004).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Winkless, L. et al. Quenching of Er(III) luminescence by ligand C–H vibrations: Implications for the use of erbium complexes in telecommunications. Appl. Phys. Lett. 89, 111115 (2006).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Monguzzi, A. Predictive modelling of the vibrational quenching in emitting lanthanides complexes. Synth. Met. 161, 2693–2699 (2012).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Tan, R. H. C., Motevalli, M., Abrahams, I., Wyatt, P. B. & Gillin, W. P. Quenching of IR luminescence of erbium, neodymium and ytterbium β-diketonate complexes by ligand C–H and C–D bonds. J. Phys. Chem. B 110, 24476–24479 (2006).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Curry, R. J., Gillin, W. P., Knights, A. P. & Gwilliam, R. Silicon-based organic light-emitting diode operating at a wavelength of 1.5 μm. Appl. Phys. Lett. 77, 2271–2273 (2000).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Bradley, J. D. B. & Pollnau, M. Erbium-doped integrated waveguide amplifiers and lasers. Laser Photon. Rev. 5, 368–403 (2011).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Polman, A. & van Veggel, F. C. J. M. Broadband sensitizers for erbium-doped planar optical amplifiers: Review. J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 21, 871–892 (2004).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Han, H-S., Seo, S-Y. & Shin, J. H. Optical gain at 1.54 μm in erbium-doped silicon nanocluster sensitized waveguide. Appl. Phys. Lett. 79, 4568–4570 (2001).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Daldosso, N., Navarro-Urrios, D. & Melchiorri, M. et al. Absorption cross section and signal enhancement in Er-doped Si nanocluster rib-loaded waveguides. Appl. Phys. Lett. 86, 261103 (2005).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Mancino, G. et al. Dramatic increases in the lifetime of the Er3+ ion in a molecular complex using a perfluorinated imidodiphosphinate sensitizing ligand. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 127, 524–525 (2005).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Zheng, Y. X. et al. Near IR luminescent rare earth 3,4,5,6-tetrafluoro-2-nitrophenoxide complexes: Synthesis, X-ray crystallography and spectroscopy. Polyhedron 27, 1503–1510 (2008).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Hernández, I., Tan, R. H. C., Pearson, J. M., Wyatt, P. B. & Gillin, W. P. Nonradiative de-excitation mechanisms in long-lived erbium (III) organic compounds ErxY1−x[(p-CF3-C6F4)2PO2]3 . J. Phys. Chem. B 113, 7474–7481 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Zhang, J., Shade, C. M., Chengelis, D. A. & Petoud, S. A strategy to protect and sensitize near-infrared luminescent Nd3+ and Yb3+: organic tropolonate ligands for the sensitization of Ln3+-doped NaYF4 nanocrystals. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 129, 14834–14835 (2007).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Mech, A. et al. Sensitized NIR erbium(III) emission in confined geometries: a new strategy for light emitters in telecom applications. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 132, 4574–4576 (2010).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. Li, Z. et al. Luminescent zinc(II) complexes of fluorinated benzothiazol-2-yl substituted phenoxide and enolate ligands. Inorg. Chem. 52, 1379–1387 (2013).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Ye, H. Q. et al. Effect of fluorination on the radiative properties of Er3+ organic complexes: An opto-structural correlation study. J. Phys. Chem. C 117, 23970–23975 (2013).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Crosby, G. A., Whan, R. E. & Alire, R. M. Intramolecular energy transfer in rare earth chelates. Role of the triplet state. J. Chem. Phys. 34, 743–748 (1961).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Hernández, I. et al. Efficient sensitized emission in perchlorotropolonate-based Yb(III) complexes. Chem. Commun. 49, 1933–1935 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Quochi, F. et al. Population saturation in trivalent erbium sensitized by organic molecular antennae. J. Phys.Chem. Lett. 1, 141–144 (2010).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. Ern, V., Bouchriha, H., Fourny, J. & Delacôte, G. Triplet exciton-trapped hole interaction in anthracene crystals. Solid State Comm. 9, 1201–1203 (1971).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. Pope, M. & Swenberg, C. Electronic Processes in Organic Crystals (Oxford Univ. Press, (1982).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

H.Y., Z.L. and Y.P. are financially supported by the China Scholarship Council and Queen Mary, University of London. I.H. acknowledges financial support from the Royal Academy of Engineering and the EU FP7 (Marie Curie-CIG-Grant 303535). P.B.W. thanks the EPSRC UK National Mass Spectrometry Facility at Swansea University for help in characterization of Zn(F-BTZ)2 and its precursors. Y.Z. acknowledges financial support from the Major State Basic Research Development Program (2013CB922101, 2011CB808704) and NSFC (21371093). W.P.G. acknowledges financial support from EPSRC (EP/K004484/1).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

H.Y. prepared samples, collected data and modelled the waveguides. Z.L., Y.P., Y.X.Z., Y.X., C.C.W. and T.Y.L. synthesized and characterized the materials. H.Y., A.S. and G.A. helped with the waveguide fabrication. Z.L. produced and characterized the OLEDs. P.B.W. directed the chemical synthesis programme. I.H. contributed to the strategy and directed the experiments. W.P.G. designed the study and wrote the paper. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Y. X. Zheng, I. Hernández, P. B. Wyatt or W. P. Gillin.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Information (PDF 1002 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ye, H., Li, Z., Peng, Y. et al. Organo-erbium systems for optical amplification at telecommunications wavelengths. Nature Mater 13, 382–386 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat3910

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat3910

This article is cited by

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing