A surface-emitting laser incorporating a high-index-contrast subwavelength grating

An Erratum to this article was published on 02 April 2007


Semiconductor diode lasers can be used in a variety of applications including telecommunications, displays, solid-state lighting, sensing and printing. Among them, vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers1,2,3 (VCSELs) are particularly promising. Because they emit light normal to the constituent wafer surface, it is possible to extract light more efficiently and to fabricate two-dimensional device arrays. A VCSEL contains two distributed Bragg reflector (DBR) mirrors for optical feedback, separated by a very short active gain region. Typically, the reflectivity of the DBRs must exceed 99.5% in order for the VCSEL to lase. However, the realization of practical VCSELs that can be used over a broad spectrum of wavelengths has been hindered by the poor optical and thermal properties of candidate DBR materials4,5,6. In this Letter, we present surface-emitting lasers that incorporate a single-layer high-index-contrast subwavelength grating7,8 (HCG). The HCG provides both efficient optical feedback and control of the wavelength and polarization of the emitted light. Such integration reduces the required VCSEL mirror epitaxial thickness by a factor of two and increases fabrication tolerance. This work will directly influence the future designs of VCSELs, photovoltaic cells and light-emitting diodes at blue–green, 1.3–1.55 µm and mid- to far-infrared wavelengths.

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Figure 1: VCSEL integrated with an HCG.
Figure 2: Simulated reflectivity of the HCG-based VCSEL.
Figure 3: Optical characteristics of an HCG-based VCSEL.
Figure 4: Emission spectra of the VCSEL with and without the HCG.


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This project was supported by the DARPA Center for Optoelectronic Nanostructure Semiconductor Research and Technology (CONSRT). We thank Land Mark Optoelectronics Corporation for the growth of the epitaxy wafer and Berkeley Microfabrication Laboratory for the fabrication support.

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Correspondence to Connie J. Chang-Hasnain.

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Huang, M., Zhou, Y. & Chang-Hasnain, C. A surface-emitting laser incorporating a high-index-contrast subwavelength grating. Nature Photon 1, 119–122 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2006.80

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