Letter | Published:

Quasi-periodic distributed feedback laser

Nature Photonics volume 4, pages 165169 (2010) | Download Citation

Abstract

Although lasers have found numerous applications, their design is often still based on the concept of a gain medium within a mirror cavity. Exceptions to this are distributed feedback lasers1, in which feedback develops along a periodic structure, or random lasers, which do not require any form of cavity2. Random lasers have very rich emission spectra, but are difficult to control. Distributed feedback devices, conversely, have the same limited design possibilities of regular lasers. We show, by making use of a quasi-crystalline structure in an electrically pumped device, that several advantages of a random laser can be combined with the predictability of a distributed feedback resonator. We have constructed a terahertz quantum cascade laser based on a Fibonacci distributed feedback sequence, and show that engineering of the self-similar spectrum of the grating allows features beyond those possible with traditional periodic resonators, such as directional output independent of the emission frequency and multicolour operation.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank B. Witzigmann for useful discussions. This work was supported in part by the European Commission through the Research and Training Network ‘Physics of Intersubband Semiconductor Emitters’ and the integrated project ‘Teranova’. The authors also acknowledge support from the Italian Ministry of Research through the project ‘National Laboratory for Nanotechnology applied to Genomics and Post-Genomics’.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. NEST, CNR-INFM and Scuola Normale Superiore, Piazza dei Cavalieri 7, I-56126, Pisa, Italy

    • Lukas Mahler
    • , Alessandro Tredicucci
    •  & Fabio Beltram
  2. Institute for Quantum Electronics, ETH Zurich, HPT H 7, Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 16, CH-8093 Zurich, Switzerland

    • Christoph Walther
    •  & Jérôme Faist
  3. Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, J J Thomson Avenue, Cambridge CB3 0HE, United Kingdom

    • Harvey E. Beere
    •  & David A. Ritchie
  4. European Laboratory for Nonlinear Spectroscopy and CNR-BEC, via Nello Carrara 1, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino (Florence), Italy

    • Diederik S. Wiersma

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Contributions

L.M, A.T. and D.W. conceived the experiment. L.M. fabricated the devices and carried out measurements and simulations. C.W. performed part of the processing and H.E.B grew the semiconductor heterostructure. All authors discussed the results and implications and contributed to the manuscript at various stages.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alessandro Tredicucci.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2009.285

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