Zheng, L., Zhi, M., Chan, Y. et al. Multi-color lasing in chemically open droplet cavities. Sci Rep 8, 14088 (2018) doi:10.1038/s41598-018-32596-8
In this paper, we demonstrate FRET-based multicolor lasing within chemically open droplet cavities that allow online modulation of the gain medium composition. To do this, we generated monodisperse microfuidic droplets loaded with coumarin 102 (donor), where the spherical droplets acted as whispering gallery mode (WGM) optical cavities in which coumarin 102 lasing (~ 470 nm) was observed. The lasing color was switched from blue to orange by the introduction of a second dye (acceptor, rhodamine 6G) into the fowing droplet cavities; subsequent lasing from rhodamine 6G (~ 590 nm) was observed together with the complete absence of coumarin 102 emission. The ability to control color switching online within the same droplet cavity enables sequential detection of multiple target molecules within or around the cavity. As a demonstration of this concept, we show how the presence of FITC-Dextran and methylene blue (MB) in the medium surrounding the lasing droplets can be sequentially detected by the blue and orange laser respectively. The method is simple and can be extended to a range of water-soluble dyes, thus enabling a wide spectral range for the lasing with the use of a single pump laser source.