Lasing in liquid crystals is quite easy to achieve because of two reasons:
When the gain spectrum of the dye is matched with the reflection band of the liquid crystal, the material can start lasing when it is sufficiently pumped. In the last couple of years, different master thesis students and PhD students have been working on the improvement of the efficiency and the threshold of such liquid crystal lasers.
In this thesis, we want to investigate the possibility to couple the laser light efficiently into a waveguide structure. Currently, most of the research is focused on the use of these lasers for free-space applications (e.g. for cheap tunable laser sources, for use in projection systems, etc.), but we think that these lasers have a lot of potential when the light can be efficiently coupled into a waveguide structure. This could for example be interesting for lab-on-chip biosensing applications. The aim of this thesis is to fabricate a coupling structure to couple the light into the waveguide. Most probably this will be done by writing a grating into a polymer waveguide with the holographic UV laser setup which is available in the research group. Then the liquid crystal laser has to be put onto this coupling structure and the lasing and coupling will be tested experimentally. A small optical setup will be built for the experiment.