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Optically Transportable Optofluidic Microlasers with Liquid Crystal Cavities Tuned by the Electric Field

  • Alexandr Jonáš*
    Alexandr Jonáš
    Institute of Scientific Instruments of CAS, Czech Academy of Sciences, Královopolská 147, 61264 Brno, Czech Republic
    *Email: [email protected]
  • Zdeněk Pilát
    Zdeněk Pilát
    Institute of Scientific Instruments of CAS, Czech Academy of Sciences, Královopolská 147, 61264 Brno, Czech Republic
  • Jan Ježek
    Jan Ježek
    Institute of Scientific Instruments of CAS, Czech Academy of Sciences, Královopolská 147, 61264 Brno, Czech Republic
    More by Jan Ježek
  • Silvie Bernatová
    Silvie Bernatová
    Institute of Scientific Instruments of CAS, Czech Academy of Sciences, Královopolská 147, 61264 Brno, Czech Republic
  • Petr Jedlička
    Petr Jedlička
    Institute of Scientific Instruments of CAS, Czech Academy of Sciences, Královopolská 147, 61264 Brno, Czech Republic
  • Mehdi Aas
    Mehdi Aas
    Department of Physics, Koç University, Rumelifeneri Yolu, Sariyer, 34450 Istanbul, Turkey
    More by Mehdi Aas
  • Alper Kiraz*
    Alper Kiraz
    Department of Physics, Koç University, Rumelifeneri Yolu, Sariyer, 34450 Istanbul, Turkey
    Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Koç University, Rumelifeneri Yolu, Sariyer, 34450 Istanbul, Turkey
    *Email: [email protected]
    More by Alper Kiraz
  • , and 
  • Pavel Zemánek*
    Pavel Zemánek
    Institute of Scientific Instruments of CAS, Czech Academy of Sciences, Královopolská 147, 61264 Brno, Czech Republic
    *Email: [email protected]
Cite this: ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2021, 13, 43, 50657–50667
Publication Date (Web):October 21, 2021
https://doi.org/10.1021/acsami.1c11936
Copyright © 2021 American Chemical Society

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    Abstract

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    Liquid crystal microdroplets with readily adjustable optical properties have attracted considerable attention for building reconfigurable optofluidic microsystems for sensing, imaging, and light routing applications. In this quest, development of active optical microcavities serving as versatile integrated sources of coherent light and ultra-sensitive environmental sensors has played a prominent role. Here, we study transportable optofluidic microlasers reversibly tunable by an external electric field, which are based on fluorophore-doped emulsion droplets of radial nematic liquid crystals manipulated by optical tweezers in microfluidic chips with embedded liquid electrodes. Full transparency of the electrodes formed by a concentrated electrolyte solution allows for applying an electric field to the optically trapped droplets without undesired heating caused by light absorption. Taking advantage of independent, precise control over the electric and thermal stimulation of the lasing liquid crystal droplets, we characterize their spectral tuning response at various optical trapping powers and study their relaxation upon a sudden decrease in the trapping power. Finally, we demonstrate that sufficiently strong applied electric fields can induce fully reversible phase transitions in the trapped droplets even below the bulk melting temperature of the used liquid crystal. Our observations indicate viability of creating electrically tunable, optically transported microlasers that can be prepared on-demand and operated within microfluidic chips to implement integrated microphotonic or sensing systems.

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    Supporting Information

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    The Supporting Information is available free of charge at https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsami.1c11936.

    • Influence of the trapping beam polarization on the internal structure of optically trapped LC droplets and the mechanisms of selection of the most intense lasing mode (PDF)

    • Illustration of optical confinement of a radial nematic LC droplet in the flow of the host liquid through a channel in a microfluidic chip (AVI)

    • Illustration of active manipulation of an optically trapped radial nematic LC droplet within the host liquid contained in a microfluidic chip (AVI)

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    Most electronic Supporting Information files are available without a subscription to ACS Web Editions. Such files may be downloaded by article for research use (if there is a public use license linked to the relevant article, that license may permit other uses). Permission may be obtained from ACS for other uses through requests via the RightsLink permission system: http://pubs.acs.org/page/copyright/permissions.html.

    Cited By

    This article is cited by 3 publications.

    1. Wenbo Shen, Huimin Zhang, Zongcheng Miao, Zihui Ye. Recent Progress in Functional Dye‐Doped Liquid Crystal Devices. Advanced Functional Materials 2023, 33 (6) , 2210664. https://doi.org/10.1002/adfm.202210664
    2. Ziyihui Wang, Linwei Shang, Zehang Gao, Kok Ken Chan, Chaoyang Gong, Chenlu Wang, Tianhua Xu, Tiegen Liu, Shilun Feng, Yu-Cheng Chen. Motor-like microlasers functioning in biological fluids. Lab on a Chip 2022, 22 (19) , 3668-3675. https://doi.org/10.1039/D2LC00513A
    3. Ziyihui Wang, Linwei Shang, Tianhua Xu, Tiegen Liu, Yu-Cheng Chen. Lasing Micro-Robots: Manipulation of Active Laser Sources in Biological Fluids. 2022, SM3L.3. https://doi.org/10.1364/CLEO_SI.2022.SM3L.3

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