A styrene copolymer of 4-vinylbenzyl thiocyanate (PST-co-VBT) was employed as recording material for optical interference patterns with periods ∧ < 1 μm. Using lower intensity laser irradiation (4 mJ cm-2, λ = 266 nm), refractive index gratings were produced in PST-co-VBT by an UV induced photoisomerization SCN - NCS. Subsequent modification of the patterns with gaseous amines yielded surface relief gratings via the formation of derivatives of thiourea. Laser irradiation with higher pulse energies (7 mJ cm-2, λ = 266 nm) directly produced surface relief gratings (modulation depth 30 nm). These gratings were also reactive towards amine reagents and allowed a selective functionalization of the grooves of the relief (“reactive gratings”). Optically inscribed gratings in PST-co-VBT were employed as optical resonators for distributed feedback (DFB) lasing. With a laser dye (DCM) dissolved in PST-co-VBT, optically pumped DFB laser action was observed after inscribing index and relief gratings. The pumping threshold for lasing I
th was 250 nJ cm-2 at λ = 532 nm.