Amplified Spontaneous Emission (ASE) threshold represents a crucial parameter often used to establish if a material is a good candidate for applications to lasers. Even if the ASE properties of conjugated polymers have been widely investigated, the specific literature is characterized by several methods to determine the ASE threshold, making comparison among the obtained values impossible. We quantitatively compare 9 different methods employed in literature to determine the ASE threshold, in order to find out the best candidate to determine the most accurate estimate of it. The experiment has been performed on thin films of an homopolymer, a copolymer and a host:guest polymer blend, namely poly(9,9-dioctylfluorene) (PFO), poly(9,9-dioctylfluorene-cobenzothiadiazole) (F8BT) and F8BT:poly(3- hexylthiophene) (F8BT:rrP3HT), applying the Variable Pump Intensity (VPI) and the Variable Stripe Length (VSL) methods. We demonstrate that, among all the spectral features affected by the presence of ASE, the most sensitive is the spectral linewidth and that the best way to estimate the ASE threshold is to determine the excitation density at the beginning of the line narrowing. We also show that the methods most frequently used in literature always overestimate the threshold up to more than one order of magnitude.
de Giorgi M. L.
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