Lead halide perovskite nanowire lasers with low lasing thresholds and high quality factors

Journal name:
Nature Materials
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The remarkable performance of lead halide perovskites in solar cells can be attributed to the long carrier lifetimes and low non-radiative recombination rates, the same physical properties that are ideal for semiconductor lasers. Here, we show room-temperature and wavelength-tunable lasing from single-crystal lead halide perovskite nanowires with very low lasing thresholds (220 nJ cm−2) and high quality factors (Q ~ 3,600). The lasing threshold corresponds to a charge carrier density as low as 1.5 × 1016 cm−3. Kinetic analysis based on time-resolved fluorescence reveals little charge carrier trapping in these single-crystal nanowires and gives estimated lasing quantum yields approaching 100%. Such lasing performance, coupled with the facile solution growth of single-crystal nanowires and the broad stoichiometry-dependent tunability of emission colour, makes lead halide perovskites ideal materials for the development of nanophotonics, in parallel with the rapid development in photovoltaics from the same materials.

At a glance


  1. Structural characterization of single-crystal CH3NH3PbX3 NWs.
    Figure 1: Structural characterization of single-crystal CH3NH3PbX3 NWs.

    a,b, Optical (a) and SEM (b) images of CH3NH3PbI3 nanostructures grown from PbAc2 thin film in a 40 mg ml−1 CH3NH3I/isopropanol solution with a reaction time of 24 h. c, Low-resolution TEM image and its selected-area electron diffraction pattern along the [110] zone axis (ZA). d,e, Magnified SEM images of NWs (top view), showing a square or rectangular cross-section and flat end facets perpendicular to the long NW axis. f, High-resolution TEM image and its corresponding fast Fourier transform. g, PXRD patterns of as-grown CH3NH3PbX3 (X = I, Br, Cl) NWs, confirming the tetragonal phase (for X = I) and cubic phase (for X = Br, Cl) of the perovskites, without any impurity phases.

  2. Near-infrared lasing from CH3NH3PbI3 NWs.
    Figure 2: Near-infrared lasing from CH3NH3PbI3 NWs.

    a, Schematic of a NW on SiO2 substrate pumped by 402 nm laser excitation (~150 fs, 250 kHz). b, 2D pseudo-colour plot of NW emission spectra under different pump fluences (P) showing a broad SPE peak below the threshold (PTh) of ~600 nJ cm−2 and a narrow lasing peak above the threshold. Note the logarithmic colour scale. c, NW emission spectra around the lasing threshold. Inset: Integrated emission intensity and FWHM as a function of P showing the lasing threshold at ~600 nJ cm−2. The FWHM of the lasing peak (δλ) at 630 nJ cm−2 is 0.22 nm, corresponding to a Q factor ~3,600. d, Optical image (left) of single NW with a length of 8.5 μm. The middle and right images show the NW emission below and above PTh (scale bar, 10 μm). The emission is uniform below PTh but mostly comes from the two end facets with coherent interference under lasing operation. e, TRPL decay kinetics after photoexcitation with fluence below (P ~ 0.85PTh, blue) and above (P ~ 1.1PTh, red) the threshold, showing a ~5.5 ns SPE decay process below PTh and a ≤20 ps lasing process above PTh. Also shown (black) is the TRPL decay kinetics with a lifetime ~150 ns at a very low photoexcited carrier density (1.5 × 1014 cm−3).

  3. Visible lasing from CH3NH3PbBr3 NWs.
    Figure 3: Visible lasing from CH3NH3PbBr3 NWs.

    a, 2D pseudo-colour plots of NW emission spectra as a function of pump fluences for CH3NH3PbBr3 NWs of different lengths: top 7.5 μm; middle 13.6 μm; and bottom 23.6 μm. Note the logarithmic colour scale for emission intensity. Inset: Emission images of NWs of different lengths above the lasing threshold (scale bars, 10 μm). b, TRPL decay kinetics after photoexcitation with fluence below (P ~ 0.82PTh, blue) and above (P ~ 1.13PTh, red) the threshold, showing a ~2 ns spontaneous decay process below PTh and a ≤20 ps (instrument limited; see grey dashed curve for instrument response function) lasing process above PTh for the 7.5-μm-long NW. The dots are data points and solid lines are multi-exponential decay fitting. Inset: Emission spectrum above the threshold with a Gaussian fitting. The FWHM is ~0.23 nm, corresponding to a Q factor of ~2,400. c, Mode spacing of the lasing peaks as a function of reciprocal NW length (black triangles). The experimental data are well described by a linear function (green) with intercept at zero.

  4. Tunable lasing from mixed perovskite NWs.
    Figure 4: Tunable lasing from mixed perovskite NWs.

    a,b, Optical (a) and SEM (b) images of CH3NH3PbCl1.24Br1.76 nanostructures. The inset in b shows a magnified SEM image of NWs, showing rectangular cross-sections and flat end facets. c, Typical SEM image (top) of an individual CH3NH3PbCl1.24Br1.76 NW and the corresponding EDS mapping showing the uniform elemental distribution of Pb, Cl and Br. d, Widely tunable lasing emission wavelength at room temperature from single-crystal NW lasers of mixed lead halide perovskites.

  5. Emission polarization of the CH3NH3PbI3 NW laser.
    Figure 5: Emission polarization of the CH3NH3PbI3 NW laser.

    a, Lasing spectra of a single CH3NH3PbI3 NW pumped at P ~ 1.3PTh with orthogonal detection polarizations (red, detection polarization perpendicular to NW axis, denoted φ = 90°; blue, detection polarization parallel to NW axis, denoted φ = 0°). Upper inset: Normalized emission intensities (symbols) as a function of detection polarization angle (φ) for lasing (green) and SPE (maroon); solid curves are fits to cos2φ. The lasing and SPE regions are anti-correlated, indicating orthogonal polarization preference. Lower inset: Optical image of the NW (L = 7.5μm). b, Cross-sectional view of the simulated electric field intensity profiles at 790 nm for fundamental waveguide modes in a CH3NH3PbI3 NW (width = 600 nm, height = 300 nm) on a SiO2/Si substrate. The white rectangular region is the CH3NH3PbI3 NW and the area below the white line is the SiO2/Si substrate. |Ex|2: along the substrate, perpendicular to the NW; |Ey|2: perpendicular to the substrate and NW; |Ez|2: along the NW. The fundamental mode is mostly transverse-electric-like with dominant x polarization and a weak longitudinal component.


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Author information

  1. These authors contributed equally to this work.

    • Haiming Zhu &
    • Yongping Fu


  1. Department of Chemistry, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027, USA

    • Haiming Zhu,
    • Xiaoxi Wu,
    • Zizhou Gong,
    • Martin V. Gustafsson,
    • M. Tuan Trinh &
    • X-Y. Zhu
  2. Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA

    • Yongping Fu,
    • Fei Meng,
    • Qi Ding &
    • Song Jin


H.Z., Y.F., S.J. and X-Y.Z. conceived the idea and designed the experiments. Y.F., F.M. and Q.D. synthesized and characterized the samples. H.Z., X.W. and Z.G. conducted the optical measurements. M.V.G. helped with metal-coated sample preparation and M.T.T. with experimental set-up for lasing measurement. H.Z. analysed the data and performed the simulation. H.Z., Y.F., S.J. and X-Y.Z. wrote the manuscript. All authors discussed the results, interpreted the findings, and reviewed the manuscript.

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