Letter | Published:

A room-temperature organic polariton transistor

Abstract

Active optical elements with ever smaller footprint and lower energy consumption are central to modern photonics. The drive for miniaturization, speed and efficiency, with the concomitant volume reduction of the optically active area, has led to the development of devices that harness strong light–matter interactions. By managing the strength of light–matter coupling to exceed losses, quasiparticles, called exciton-polaritons, are formed that combine the properties of the optical fields with the electronic excitations of the active material. By making use of polaritons in inorganic semiconductor microcavities, all-optical transistor functionality was observed, albeit at cryogenic temperatures1. Here, we replace inorganic semiconductors with a ladder-type polymer in an optical microcavity and realize room-temperature operation of a polariton transistor through vibron-mediated stimulated polariton relaxation. We demonstrate net gain of ~10 dB μm−1, sub-picosecond switching time, cascaded amplification and all-optical logic operation at ambient conditions.

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All data supporting this study are openly available from the University of Southampton repository at https://doi.org/10.5258/SOTON/D0792.

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Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the assistance of T. Yagafarov in demonstrating the AND gate operation. This work was partly supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) and the European Union's Horizon-2020 framework programme through the Marie-Sklodowska Curie ITN networks PHONSI (H2020-MSCA-ITN-642656), SYNCHRONICS (H2020-MSCA-ITN-643238), UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council grant EP/M025330/1 on Hybrid Polaritonics, MIT-Skoltech NGP Program and the Russian Science Foundation (RSF) grant no. 18-72-00227.

Author information

R.F.M. and P.G.L. designed the research. A.V.Z. and A.V.B. performed the experiments and analysed the experimental data. D.U., F.S., T.S. and R.F.M. contributed to the design and fabrication of the organic microcavity. U.S. synthesized the organic material. The manuscript was written through contributions from all authors. All authors have given approval to the final version of the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Correspondence to Pavlos G. Lagoudakis.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Discussion, Supplementary Results, Supplementary Figures 1–12 and Supplementary References 1–21.

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Further reading

Fig. 1: Organic microcavity and relevant energy levels.
Fig. 2: Spontaneous versus dynamic polariton condensation.
Fig. 3: Characteristics of the organic polariton transistor.
Fig. 4: Cascaded amplification and logic gates.