Lasing in dye solution-embedded inverse silica opal structures was investigated. The opal films were prepared by sedimentation of polystyrene microspheres on a cover glass. The polystyrene structures were inverted using sol-gel infiltration of silica and subsequent removal of polystyrene. Photoluminescence of rhodamine (rhodamine B, 6G and sulfo-rhodamine 101) dye solutions embedded into the inverse silica opal structures exhibited clear signatures of the lasing via a distributed feedback (DFB) and gain modulation. The refractive index contrast between the dye and the inverse opal was small enough (∼ 0.03%) for the formation of refractive index coupling between the lasing modes. The lasing spectrum exhibited a highly regular periodic structure of modal peaks, rather than the chaotic superposition of peaks reported in previous studies. Lasing modes having a spectral width of about 0.25 nm and a free spectral range of about 0.75 nm appeared at the position of the maximum gain (the maximum fluorescence of the dye).
Vol. 17, no. 4 (Feb 2009), pp. 2976-2978