Lasers with cylindrically symmetric polarization states are predominantly based on whispering-gallery modes1,2,3,4,5,6,7, characterized by high angular momentum and dominated by azimuthal emission. Here, a zero-angular-momentum laser with purely radial emission is demonstrated. An axially invariant, cylindrical photonic-bandgap fibre cavity8 filled with a microfluidic gain medium plug is axially pumped, resulting in a unique radiating field pattern characterized by cylindrical symmetry and a fixed polarization pointed in the azimuthal direction. Encircling the fibre core is an array of electrically contacted and independently addressable liquid-crystal microchannels embedded in the fibre cladding. These channels modulate the polarized wavefront emanating from the fibre core, leading to a laser with a dynamically controlled intensity distribution spanning the full azimuthal angular range. This new capability, implemented monolithically within a single fibre, presents opportunities ranging from flexible multidirectional displays to minimally invasive directed light delivery systems for medical applications.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $14.08 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Chang, R. K. & Campillo, A. J. Optical Processes in Microcavities (World Scientific, 1996).
McCall, S. L., Levi, A. F. J., Slusher, R. E., Pearton, S. J. & Logan, R. A. Whispering-gallery mode microdisk lasers. Appl. Phys. Lett. 60, 289–291 (1992).
Knight, J. C., Driver, H. S. T., Hutcheon, R. J. & Robertson, G. N. Core-resonance capillary-fiber whispering-gallery-mode laser. Opt. Lett. 17, 1280–1282 (1992).
Kawabe, Y. et al. Whispering-gallery-mode microring laser using a conjugated polymer. Appl. Phys. Lett. 72, 141–143 (1998).
Moon, H-J., Chough, Y-T. & Kyungwon, A. Cylindrical microcavity laser based on the evanescent-wave-coupled gain. Phys. Rev. Lett. 85, 3161–3164 (2000).
Malko, A. V. et al. From amplified spontaneous emission to microring lasing using nanocrystal quantum dot solids. Appl. Phys. Lett. 81, 1303–1305 (2002).
Kazes, M., Lewis, D. Y., Ebenstein, Y., Mokari, T. & Banin, U. Lasing from semiconductor quantum rods in a cylindrical microcavity. Adv. Mater. 14, 317–321 (2002).
Yeh, P., Yariv, A. & Marom, E. Theory of Bragg fiber. J. Opt. Soc. Am. 68, 1196–1201 (1978).
Ball, G. A. & Morey, W. W. Continuously tunable single-mode erbium fiber laser. Opt. Lett. 17, 420–422 (1992).
Dianov, E. M., Likhachev, M. E., Fevrier, S. Solid-core photonic bandgap fibers for high-power fiber lasers. IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. 15, 20–29 (2009).
Wu, C. et al. Optically pumped surface-emitting DFB GaInAsP/InP lasers with circular grating. Electron. Lett. 27, 1819–1820 (1991).
Erdogan, T. et al. Circularly symmetric operation of a concentric-circle-grating, surface-emitting, AlGaAs/GaAs quantum-well semiconductor laser. Appl. Phys. Lett. 60, 1921–1923 (1992).
Labilloy, D. et al. High-finesse disk microcavity based on a circular Bragg reflector. Appl. Phys. Lett. 73, 1314–1316 (1998).
Scheuer, J., Green, W. M. J., DeRose, G. & Yariv, A., Low-threshold two-dimensional annular Bragg lasers. Opt. Lett. 29, 2641–2643 (2004).
Abouraddy, A. F. et al. Towards multimaterial multifunctional fibres that see, hear, sense and communicate. Nature Mater. 6, 336–347 (2007).
Ruff, Z. et al. Polymer-composite fibers for transmitting high peak power pulses at 1.55 microns. Opt. Express 18, 15697–15703 (2010).
Alkeskjold, T. T. et al. Integrating liquid crystal based optical devices in photonic crystal fibers. Opt. Quant. Electron. 39, 1009–1019 (2007).
Kuhlmey, B. T., Eggleton, B. J. & Wu, D. K. C. Fluid-filled solid-core photonic bandgap fibers. J. Lightwave Technol. 27, 1617–1630 (2009).
Shapira, O. et al. Surface-emitting fiber lasers. Opt. Express 14, 3929–3935 (2006).
Eichler, H. J., Klein, U. & Langhans, D. Measurement of orientational relaxation times of Rhodamine 6G with a streak camera. Chem. Phys. Lett. 67, 21–23 (1979).
Duarte, F. J. & Hillman, L. W. Dye Laser Principles (Academic Press, 1990).
Scifres, D. R., Streifer, W. & Burnham, R. D. Beam scanning with twin-stripe injection lasers. Appl. Phys. Lett. 33, 702–704 (1978).
McManamon, P. F. et al. Optical phased array technology. Proc. IEEE 84, 268–298 (1996).
Wang, X, Wilson, D., Muller, R., Maker, P. & Psaltis, D. Liquid-crystal blazed-grating beam deflector. Appl. Opt. 39, 6545–6555 (2000).
Choi, M., Tanaka, T., Fukushima, T. & Harayama, T. Control of directional emission in quasistadium microcavity laser diodes with two electrodes. Appl. Phys. Lett. 88, 211110 (2006).
Smith, N. R., Abeysinghe, D. C., Haus, J. W. & Heikenfeld, J. Agile wide-angle beam steering with electrowetting microprisms. Opt. Express 14, 6557–6563 (2006).
Kurosaka, Y. et al. On-chip beam-steering photonic-crystal lasers. Nature Photon. 4, 447–450 (2010).
Yeh, P. & Gu, C. Optics of Liquid Crystal Displays 2nd edn (John Wiley & Sons, 2010).
Dolmans, D. E., Fukumura, D. & Jain, R. K. Photodynamic therapy for cancer. Nature Rev. Cancer 3, 380–387 (2003).
Rowland, K. J., Afshar, S., Stolyarov, A., Fink, Y & Monro, T. M. Bragg waveguides with low-index liquid cores. Opt. Express 20, 48–62 (2012).
A.M.S. is grateful to F. Capasso, A.F. Abouraddy, H. Stone, Z. Wang, D. Shemuly, S. Danto, D. Deng, Z. Ruff, N. Orf and A. Nemiroski for fruitful discussions. The authors thank M. Stolyar for his help in engineering the first rapid prototype version of the fluidic/optical-fibre coupler, and A. Gallant at the MIT Central Machine Shop for producing the final version. J. Ryvkina is credited for the artwork in Supplementary Fig. S2. A.M.S. acknowledges support from the US National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. L.W. acknowledges support from the Technical University of Denmark. This work was supported in part by the Materials Research Science and Engineering Program of the US National Science Foundation (award no. DMR-0819762) and also in part by the US Army Research Office through the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (contract no. W911NF-07-D-0004).
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
About this article
Cite this article
Stolyarov, A., Wei, L., Shapira, O. et al. Microfluidic directional emission control of an azimuthally polarized radial fibre laser. Nature Photon 6, 229–233 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2012.24
Advanced Materials (2020)
Reduction in lasing threshold of hollow-core microstructured optical fiber optofluidic laser based on fluorescence resonant energy transfer
Optical Fiber Technology (2020)
Materials Today (2020)
Detection and elimination of pulse train instabilities in broadband fibre lasers using dispersion scan
Scientific Reports (2020)