New Journal of Physics

Controlling molecular broadband-emission by optical confinement

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We investigate experimentally and theoretically the fluorescence emitted by molecular ensembles as well as spatially isolated, single molecules of an organic dye immobilized in a quasi-planar optical microresonator at room temperature. The optically excited dipole emitters couple simultaneously to on-and off-axis cavity resonances of the microresonator. The multi-spectral radiative contributions are strongly modified with respect to free (non-confined) space due to enhancement and inhibition of the molecular spontaneous emission (SpE) rate. By varying the mirror spacing of the microresonator on the nanometer-scale, the SpE rate of the cavity-confined molecules and, consequently, the spectral line width of the microresonator- controlled broadband fluorescence can be tuned by up to one order of magnitude. Stepwise reducing the optical confinement, we observe that the microresonator-controlled molecular fluorescence line shape converges towards the measured fluorescence line shape in free space. Our results are important for research on and application of broadband emitters in nano-optics and -photonics as well as microcavity-enhanced (single molecule) spectroscopy. © IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.