Organo-erbium systems for optical amplification at telecommunications wavelengths.
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Modern telecommunications rely on the transmission and manipulation of optical signals. Optical amplification plays a vital part in this technology, as all components in a real telecommunications system produce some loss. The two main issues with present amplifiers, which rely on erbium ions in a glass matrix, are the difficulty in integration onto a single substrate and the need of high pump power densities to produce gain. Here we show a potential organic optical amplifier material that demonstrates population inversion when pumped from above using low-power visible light. This system is integrated into an organic light-emitting diode demonstrating that electrical pumping can be achieved. This opens the possibility of direct electrically driven optical amplifiers and optical circuits. Our results provide an alternative approach to producing low-cost integrated optics that is compatible with existing silicon photonics and a different route to an effective integrated optics technology.