Abstract Organically modified solid-state silicates (ORMOSILS) doped with a new laser dye 1,3,5,7,8-pentamethylpyrromethene-2,6-disulfonate–BF 2 complex (pyrromethene 556) have been synthesized by a sol–gel method and the compositional effects on pore characteristics, fluorescence and lasing properties have been investigated. It is found that the use of dimethylsulfoxide and γ-glycidoxypropyltrimethoxysilane could greatly change the structure properties of sol–gel derived ORMOSILS cage, and thus the fluorescence and lasing properties of the materials could improve significantly. A successful laser oscillation from this dye-doped ORMOSILS sample has been achieved upon pumping with a Q-switched frequency-doubled Nd:YAG laser at 532 nm. A slope efficiency of 54% with a useful lifetime greater than 10,000 shots has been demonstrated at a pump repetition rate of 1 Hz and a pump intensity of 1 J/cm 2 by using the new ORMOSILS cage on our newly designed laser system. Our results have shown that it is possible to obtain a high-efficiency with a long-lifetime for a compact new laser device by low cost dye-doped solid-state ORMOSILS.