Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting 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.

  • Letter
  • Published:

Room-temperature polariton lasing in an organic single-crystal microcavity


The optical properties of organic semiconductors are almost exclusively described using the Frenkel exciton picture1. In this description, the strong Coulombic interaction between an excited electron and the charged vacancy it leaves behind (a hole) is automatically taken into account. If, in an optical microcavity, the exciton–photon interaction is strong compared to the excitonic and photonic decay rates, a second quasiparticle, the microcavity polariton, must be introduced to properly account for this coupling2. Coherent, laser-like emission from polaritons has been predicted to occur when the ground-state occupancy of polaritons 〈ngs〉, reaches 1 (ref. 3). This process, known as polariton lasing, can occur at thresholds much lower than required for conventional lasing. Polaritons in organic semiconductors are highly stable at room temperature, but to our knowledge, there has as yet been no report of nonlinear emission from these structures. Here, we demonstrate polariton lasing at room temperature in an organic microcavity composed of a melt-grown anthracene single crystal sandwiched between two dielectric mirrors.

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

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Experimental structure and dispersion of the b-polarized polariton.
Figure 2: Intensity dependence.
Figure 3: Angle-resolved photoluminescence.
Figure 4: Temporal response and occupation number.
Figure 5: Gain measurement.

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Pope, M., Swenberg, C. E. & Pope, M. Electronic Processes in Organic Crystals and Polymers 2nd edn (Oxford Univ. Press, 1999).

    Google Scholar 

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

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  3. Imamoglu, A., Ram, R. J., Pau, S. & Yamamoto, Y. Nonequilibrium condensates and lasers without inversion: exciton–polariton lasers. Phys. Rev. A 53, 4250–4253 (1996).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  4. Kasprzak, J. et al. Bose–Einstein condensation of exciton polaritons. Nature 443, 409–414 (2006).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  5. Deng, H., Weihs, G., Snoke, D., Bloch, J. & Yamamoto, Y. Polariton lasing vs. photon lasing in a semiconductor microcavity. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 100, 15318–15323 (2003).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  6. Christopoulos, S. et al. Room-temperature polariton lasing in semiconductor microcavities. Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 126405 (2007).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  7. Malpuech, G., Kavokin, A. & Laussy, F. P. Polariton Bose condensation in microcavities. Phys. Status Solidi A 195, 568–578 (2003).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  8. Malpuech, G., Rubo, Y. G., Laussy, F. P., Bigenwald, P. & Kavokin, A. V. Polariton laser: thermodynamics and quantum kinetic theory. Semicond. Sci. Technol. 18, S395–S404 (2003).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  9. Giebink, N. C. & Forrest, S. R. Temporal response of optically pumped organic semiconductor lasers and its implication for reaching threshold under electrical excitation. Phys. Rev. B 79, 073302 (2009).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  10. Kena-Cohen, S., Davanço, M. & Forrest, S. R. Strong exciton–photon coupling in an organic single crystal microcavity. Phys. Rev. Lett. 101, 116401 (2008).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  11. Davydov, A. S. Theory of Molecular Excitons (Plenum Press, 1971).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  12. Zoubi, H. & La Rocca, G. C. Microscopic theory of anisotropic organic cavity exciton polaritons. Phys. Rev. B 71, 235316 (2005).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  13. Litinskaya, M., Reineker, P. & Agranovich, V. M. Exciton–polaritons in a crystalline anisotropic organic microcavity. Phys. Status Solidi A 201, 646–654 (2004).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  14. Kena-Cohen, S. & Forrest, S. R. Giant Davydov splitting of the lower polariton branch in a polycrystalline tetracene microcavity. Phys. Rev. B 77, 073205 (2008).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  15. Kena-Cohen, S., Davanco, M. & Forrest, S. R. Resonant Rayleigh scattering from an anisotropic organic single-crystal microcavity. Phys. Rev. B 78, 153102 (2008).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  16. Debernardi, P., Bava, G. P., Degen, C., Fischer, I. & Elsasser, W. Influence of anisotropies on transverse modes in oxide-confined VCSELs. IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 38, 73–84 (2002).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  17. Litinskaya, M., Reineker, P. & Agranovich, V. M. Fast polariton relaxation in strongly coupled organic microcavities. J. Lumin. 110, 364–372 (2004).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Mazza, L., Fontanesi, L. & La Rocca, G. C. Organic-based microcavities with vibronic progressions: photoluminescence. Phys. Rev. B 80, 235314 (2009).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  19. Tassone, F. & Yamamoto, Y. Exciton–exciton scattering dynamics in a semiconductor microcavity and stimulated scattering into polaritons. Phys. Rev. B 59, 10830–10842 (1999).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  20. Avanesyan, O. S. et al. Features of light-emission and stimulated Raman-scattering in anthracene-crystals. Soviet J. Quantum Electron. 7, 403–405 (1977).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  21. Litinskaya, M. Exciton polariton kinematic interaction in crystalline organic microcavities. Phys. Rev. B 77, 155325 (2008).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  22. Tischler, J. R., Bradley, M. S., Bulovic, V., Song, J. H. & Nurmikko, A. Strong coupling in a microcavity LED. Phys. Rev. Lett. 95, 036401 (2005).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors acknowledge fruitful discussions with H. Deng. This work was performed at the Lurie Nanofabrication Facility at the University of Michigan and was supported by Universal Display Corp. and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



S.K.C. and S.R.F conceived the experiments. S.K.C. fabricated the structures and carried out the measurements. Both authors contributed to the analysis and manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to S. R. Forrest.

Supplementary information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kéna-Cohen, S., Forrest, S. Room-temperature polariton lasing in an organic single-crystal microcavity. Nature Photon 4, 371–375 (2010).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


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