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Multi-quantum-well nanowire heterostructures for wavelength-controlled lasers


Rational design and synthesis of nanowires with increasingly complex structures can yield enhanced and/or novel electronic and photonic functions1,2. For example, Ge/Si core/shell nanowires have exhibited substantially higher performance as field-effect transistors3 and low-temperature quantum devices4,5 compared with homogeneous materials, and nano-roughened Si nanowires were recently shown to have an unusually high thermoelectric figure of merit6. Here, we report the first multi-quantum-well (MQW) core/shell nanowire heterostructures based on well-defined III-nitride materials that enable lasing over a broad range of wavelengths at room temperature. Transmission electron microscopy studies show that the triangular GaN nanowire cores enable epitaxial and dislocation-free growth of highly uniform (InGaN/GaN)n quantum wells with n=3, 13 and 26 and InGaN well thicknesses of 1–3 nm. Optical excitation of individual MQW nanowire structures yielded lasing with InGaN quantum-well composition-dependent emission from 365 to 494 nm, and threshold dependent on quantum well number, n. Our work demonstrates a new level of complexity in nanowire structures, which potentially can yield free-standing injection nanolasers.

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Figure 1: InGaN MQW nanowire structures.
Figure 2: High-resolution TEM of nanowire MQWs.
Figure 3: MQW nanowire photoluminescence.
Figure 4: MQW nanowire lasing threshold.


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The authors thank C. J. Barrelet and Y. N. Wu for helpful discussions, P. Stadelmann for providing JEMS simulation software, R. Schalek for help with ultramicrotomy and A. J. Garratt-Reed for assistance in EDS elemental mapping measurements. This work was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (C.M.L.) and the Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences, DE-FG02-07ER46394, (Z.L.W.).

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Authors and Affiliations



F.Q., Y.L. and Y.J.D. synthesized the nanowire structures. Y.L. and Y.D. carried out TEM characterization, S.G. carried out CBED studies and analysis, F.Q. carried out optical measurements and H.-G.P. carried out modelling studies. All authors contributed to the design of the experiments and data analysis. F.Q. and C.M.L. wrote the paper and all authors contributed to manuscript revisions.

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Correspondence to Zhong Lin Wang or Charles M. Lieber.

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Supplementary Information, Methods and Figures S1–S4 (PDF 367 kb)

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Qian, F., Li, Y., Gradečak, S. et al. Multi-quantum-well nanowire heterostructures for wavelength-controlled lasers. Nature Mater 7, 701–706 (2008).

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