Article | Published:

Electrically driven subwavelength optical nanocircuits

Nature Photonics volume 8, pages 244249 (2014) | Download Citation

Abstract

The miniaturization of electronic and photonic device technologies has facilitated information processing and transport at ever-increasing speeds and decreasing power levels. Nanometallics or ‘plasmonics’ has empowered us to break the diffraction limit and open the door to the development of truly nanoscale optical circuits. A logical next step in this development is the realization of compact optical sources capable of electrically driving such nanocircuits. Nanometallic lasers are a possible candidate, but the realization of power-efficient, electrically pumped nanolasers at room temperature is extremely challenging. Here, we explore a plasmonic light-emitting diode as a possible alternative option. We demonstrate that an electrically driven, nano light-emitting diode is capable of directing light emission into a single-mode plasmon waveguide with a cross-sectional area of 0.016λ2 by exploiting the Purcell effect. With this source, electrically driven subwavelength optical nanocircuits for routing, splitting, free-space coupling and directional coupling are realized for the first time.

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Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge funding support from the Air Force Ofce of Scientic Research (G. Pomrenke, grant no. FA9550-10-1-0264). M.-K.S. acknowledges support for this work by the Basic Science Research Program (2011-0015119 and 2009-0087691) of National Research Foundation of Korea and the Korean Ministry of Education. The authors thank W. Cai and A. Curto for discussions.

Author information

Author notes

    • Kevin C. Y. Huang
    •  & Min-Kyo Seo

    These authors contributed equally to this work

Affiliations

  1. Geballe Laboratory for Advanced Materials, Stanford University, McCullough Building, 476 Lomita Mall, Stanford, California 94305-4045, USA

    • Kevin C. Y. Huang
    • , Min-Kyo Seo
    •  & Mark L. Brongersma
  2. Department of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University, David Packard Building, 350 Serra Mall, Stanford, California 94305-9505, USA

    • Kevin C. Y. Huang
    • , Tomas Sarmiento
    • , Yijie Huo
    •  & James S. Harris
  3. Department of Physics and Institute for the NanoCentury, KAIST, Daejeon 305-701, South Korea

    • Min-Kyo Seo

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Contributions

M.-K.S. and M.L.B. conceived the idea. K.C.Y.H. and M.-K.S. designed the structures. Y.H. and T.S. performed the molecular beam epitaxial growth of the quantum-well structure under the supervision of J.S.H. K.C.Y.H. and M.-K.S. performed theoretical calculations and full-eld simulations. K.C.Y.H. and M.-K.S. fabricated and characterized the samples. K.C.Y.H. and M.L.B. wrote the manuscript. M.L.B. supervised the project.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Min-Kyo Seo or Mark L. Brongersma.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2014.2

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