By structuring a luminescent dielectric interface as a relief diffraction grating with nanoscale features, it is possible to control the intensity and direction of the emitted light. The composite structure of the grating is based on a fluorescent dye (Lumogen F RED 305) dispersed in a polymeric matrix (poly(methyl methacrylate)). Measurements demonstrate a significant enhancement of the emitted light for specific directions and wavelengths when the grating interface is compared to nonstructured thin films made of the same material. In particular, the maximum enhancement of photoluminescence for a given pump wavelength is obtained at an angle of incidence that is close to the Rayleigh anomaly condition for the first-order diffracted waves. In this condition, the maximum extinction of incident light is observed. Upon excitation with coherent and monochromatic sources, photoluminescence plots show that the Rayleigh anomalies confine the angular interval of the emitted light. Being the anomalies directly related to the pitch of the diffraction grating, the system can be thus implemented as an optical device whose directional emission can be designed for specific applications. The exploitation of nanoimprinting techniques for the fabrication of the luminescent grating enables production of the device on large areas, paving the way for low-cost lighting and solar applications.
Keywords: diffraction grating; fluorescence; lighting; nanophotonics; photoluminescent materials.