Thermalization of a two-dimensional photon gas in a polymeric host matrix

Julian Schmitt*, Tobias Damm, Frank Vewinger, Martin Weitz, Jan Klaers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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We investigate thermodynamic properties of a two-dimensional photon gas confined by a dye-filled optical microcavity. A thermally equilibrated state of the photon gas is achieved by radiative coupling to a heat bath that is realized with dye molecules embedded in a polymer at room temperature. The chemical potential of the gas is freely adjustable. The optical microcavity consisting of two curved mirrors induces both a non-vanishing effective photon mass and a harmonic trapping potential for the photons. While previous experiments of our group have used liquid dye solutions, the measurements described here are based on dye molecules incorporated into a polymer host matrix. The solid state material allows a simplified operation of the experimental scheme. We furthermore describe studies of fluorescence properties of dyedoped polymers, and verify the applicability of Kennard-Stepanov theory in this system. In the future, dye-based solid state systems hold promise for the realization of single-mode light sources in thermal equilibrium based on Bose-Einstein condensation of photons, as well as for solar energy concentrators.

Original languageEnglish
Article number075019
JournalNew journal of physics
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


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