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Giant optical gain in a single-crystal erbium chloride silicate nanowire

Nature Photonics volume 11, pages 589593 (2017) | Download Citation

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Abstract

Rare-earth optical materials with large optical gain are of great importance for a wide variety of applications in photonics and quantum information due to their long carrier lifetimes and quantum coherence times, especially in the realization of efficient lasers and amplifiers. Until now, such materials have achieved a gain of less than a few dB cm–1, rendering them unsuitable for applications in nanophotonic integrated circuits. Here, we report the results of the signal enhancement and transmission experiments on a single-crystal erbium chloride silicate nanowire. Our experiments demonstrate that a net material gain over 100 dB cm–1 at wavelengths around 1,530 nm is possible due to the nanowire's single-crystalline material quality and its high erbium concentration. Our results establish that such rare-earth-compound nanowires are a potentially important class of nanomaterials for a variety of applications including, for example, subwavelength-scale optical amplifiers and lasers for integrated nanophotonics, and quantum information.

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Acknowledgements

This work was primarily supported by the 985 University Project of China and Tsinghua University Initiative Scientific Research Program (no. 20141081296). The research at Arizona State University was initially supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (FA9550-10-1-0444, G. Pomrenke) and later partially supported by the National Science Foundation's EAGER Program (award ID 1228512, J. Zavada). We thank G. Zhao of Arizona State University for help in the initial measurement of absorption based on the upconversion method.

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Affiliations

  1. Department of Electronic Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China

    • Hao Sun
    • , Yize Zheng
    • , Shilong Zhao
    • , Xue Feng
    • , Yongzhuo Li
    •  & C. Z. Ning
  2. School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85287, USA

    • Leijun Yin
    • , Zhicheng Liu
    • , Fan Fan
    •  & C. Z. Ning

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Contributions

C.Z.N. guided the research and supervised the overall project. H.S. L.Y., Z.L. and C.Z.N. designed the experiment. L.Y. and S.Z. fabricated the samples. H.S. and Y.Z. built the measurement set-up and carried out the experiments. L.Y., Z.L., F.F., X.F. and Y.L. performed the theoretical calculations and numerical simulations. H.S., L.Y., Z.L. and C.Z.N. performed the data analysis and wrote the manuscript. All authors contributed to the discussions.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to C. Z. Ning.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2017.115

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