Room-temperature lasing in a single nanowire with quantum dots

Journal name:
Nature Photonics
Year published:
Published online

Semiconductor nanowire lasers are promising as ultrasmall, highly efficient coherent light emitters in the fields of nanophotonics, nano-optics and nanobiotechnology1, 2. Although there have been several demonstrations of nanowire lasers using homogeneous bulk gain materials3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 or multi-quantum-wells/disks15, 16, 17, it is crucial to incorporate lower-dimensional quantum nanostructures into the nanowire to achieve superior device performance in relation to threshold current, differential gain, modulation bandwidth and temperature sensitivity. The quantum dot is a useful and essential nanostructure that can meet these requirements18. However, difficulties in forming stacks of quantum dots in a single nanowire hamper the realization of lasing operation. Here, we demonstrate room-temperature lasing of a single nanowire containing 50 quantum dots by properly designing the nanowire cavity and tailoring the emission energy of each dot to enhance the optical gain. Our demonstration paves the way toward ultrasmall lasers with extremely low power consumption for integrated photonic systems.

At a glance


  1. Structural properties of nanowires with stacked quantum dots.
    Figure 1: Structural properties of nanowires with stacked quantum dots.

    ac, Cross-sectional (a), bird's-eye (b) and side-view (c) schematic illustrations of the as-grown GaAs/Al0.1Ga0.9As/GaAs core–shell–cap nanowires with stacked In0.22Ga0.78As/GaAs NWQDs. d, SEM image of a nanowire array with NWQDs (average diameter and height of 290 nm and 4.3 μm, respectively). Scale bar, 1 μm. e, Cross-sectional STEM images of multi-stacked quantum dots embedded in a GaAs nanowire (without GaAs/Al0.1Ga0.9As/GaAs shell). Black-and-white contrast in the vicinity of the quantum dots indicates the existence of strain fields in the matrix. Scale bars, 50 nm. The height and diameter of the quantum dots are estimated to be 7 and 45 nm, respectively.

  2. Low-temperature (7 K) optical characteristics.
    Figure 2: Low-temperature (7 K) optical characteristics.

    a, Schematic illustration of as-grown nanowires (before transfer process) with photo-excited quantum dots. b,c, Schematic (b) and SEM image (c) of the single nanowire transferred onto SiO2(300 nm)/Si substrates. Scale bar, 500 nm. d, Macro-PL spectrum of as-grown nanowires with 50 stacked quantum dots at 0.1 mW cm−2 showing emission at 1.35 eV (FWHM = 32 meV). e, Macro-PL spectra of the nanowires with quantum dots at various pump power densities (0.1–560 mW cm−2), showing a single Gaussian peak from the ground state of NWQDs at 0.1 mW cm−2, while another peak from the excited states emerges at ∼1.4 eV on the shoulder of the ground state peak. f, μ-PL spectrum of the single nanowire transferred onto the SiO2/Si substrate at 53 nJ cm−2, showing a broad emission at 1.35 eV (FWHM = 32 meV) with a periodic modulation of the spontaneous emission caused by Fabry–Pérot resonance.

  3. Low-temperature lasing characteristics.
    Figure 3: Low-temperature lasing characteristics.

    a, Emission spectra for a single nanowire with 50 stacked In0.22Ga0.78As/GaAs NWQDs (height, 7 nm) at various pump pulse fluences (0.053–42 μJ cm−2) showing a gradual transition from spontaneous emission to lasing at 1.43 eV (threshold, ∼25 μJ cm−2). b, Double-logarithmic integrated output-power intensities of the lasing peak (filled red circles) with corresponding FWHM (open red circles) and spontaneous emission output (filled blue circles) versus pump pulse fluence. The solid red line represents a fit to the experimental data using a rate-equation analysis model. The amplified spontaneous emission regime is highlighted by the purple shaded area. The spontaneous emission output shows clamping beyond threshold. Both lasing and spontaneous emission peaks are fitted by two Gaussian curves to obtain their output powers. Inset: optical image near threshold showing light emission from the nanowire. Scale bar, 5 μm.

  4. Room-temperature lasing characteristics.
    Figure 4: Room-temperature lasing characteristics.

    a, Emission spectra for the nanowire at various pump pulse fluences (53–265 μJ cm−2) showing broad spontaneous emission below the threshold (∼179 μJ cm−2), and bimodal lasing peaks at both 1.38 and 1.41 eV above threshold. b, Double-logarithmic integrated output-power intensity of the lasing peak at 1.38 eV (filled red circles) with the corresponding FWHM (open red circles) and spontaneous emission output (filled blue circles) versus pump pulse fluence. The red line is obtained from rate-equation fitting to the experimental data, and the purple shaded area highlights the amplified spontaneous emission regime. c, Temperature dependence of the threshold pump pulse fluence. The red dashed line is an exponential fit to the experimental data, revealing a characteristic temperature of T0 ≈ 133 K.


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  1. Institute for Nano Quantum Information Electronics, The University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8505, Japan

    • Jun Tatebayashi,
    • Satoshi Kako,
    • Jinfa Ho,
    • Yasutomo Ota,
    • Satoshi Iwamoto &
    • Yasuhiko Arakawa
  2. Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8505, Japan

    • Jinfa Ho,
    • Satoshi Iwamoto &
    • Yasuhiko Arakawa


J.T. and Y.A. conceived and designed the experiments. J.T. grew the NWQD samples. J.T., with support from J.H. and S.I., carried out the simulations and analyses. J.T., with assistance from Y.O., performed optical characterization of the NWQDs. J.T., with assistance from J.H. and S.K., carried out device characterization of the NWQD lasers. All authors contributed to interpretation of the data and preparation of the manuscript. J.T. and Y.A. wrote the paper. Y.A. supervised the entire project.

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