Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Unidirectional photonic wire laser

Abstract

Photonic wire lasers are a new genre of lasers that have a transverse dimension much smaller than the wavelength. Unidirectional emission is highly desirable as most of the laser power will be in the desired direction. Owing to their small lateral dimension relative to the wavelength, however, the mode mostly propagates outside the solid core. Consequently, conventional approaches to attach a highly reflective element to the rear facet, whether a thin film or a distributed Bragg reflector, are not applicable. Here we propose a simple and effective technique to achieve unidirectionality. Terahertz quantum-cascade lasers with distributed feedback (DFB) were chosen as the platform of the photonic wire lasers. Unidirectionality is achieved with a power ratio of the forward/backward of about eight, and the power of the forward-emitting laser is increased by a factor of 1.8 compared with a reference bidirectional DFB laser. Furthermore, we achieved a wall plug power efficiency of 1%.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1
Figure 2: Simple model for unidirectional third-order DFB.
Figure 3: Fabrication and measurement strategy.
Figure 4: Measurement results for a unidirectional third-order DFB.
Figure 5: Measurement results for a unidirectional third-order DFB.

References

  1. Zhang, J. P. et al. Photonic-wire laser. Phys. Rev. Lett. 75, 2678–2681 (1995).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  2. Zhang, J. P. et al. Directional light output from photonic-wire microcavity semiconductor lasers. IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 8, 968–970 (1996).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  3. Hill, M. T. & Gather, M. C. Advances in small lasers. Nat. Photon. 8, 908–918 (2014).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  4. Altug, H., Englund, D. & Vučković, J. Ultrafast photonic crystal nanocavity laser. Nat. Phys. 2, 484–488 (2006).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Ohtani, K., Beck, M. & Faist, J. Electrical laser frequency tuning by three terminal terahertz quantum cascade lasers. Appl. Phys. Lett. 104, 011107 (2014).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  6. Qin, Q., Williams, B. S., Kumar, S., Reno, J. L. & Hu, Q. Tuning a terahertz wire laser. Nat. Photon. 3, 732–737 (2009).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  7. Han, N. et al. Broadband all-electronically tunable MEMS terahertz quantum cascade lasers. Opt. Lett. 39, 3480–3483 (2014).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  8. Orlova, E. E. et al. Antenna model for wire lasers. Phys. Rev. Lett. 96, 173904 (2006).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  9. Williams, B. S. Terahertz quantum-cascade lasers. Nat. Photon. 1, 517–525 (2007).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  10. Williams, B. S., Kumar, S., Callebaut, H., Hu, Q. & Reno, J. L. Terahertz quantum cascade laser at λ ≈ 100 µm using metal waveguide for mode confinement. Appl. Phys. Lett. 83, 2124–2126 (2003).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  11. Amanti, M. I., Fischer, M., Scalari, G., Beck, M. & Faist, J. Low-divergence single-mode terahertz quantum cascade laser. Nat. Photon. 3, 586–590 (2009).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  12. Amanti, M. I., Scalari, G., Castellano, F., Beck, M. & Faist, J. Low divergence terahertz photonic-wire laser. Opt. Express. 18, 6390–6395 (2010).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  13. Kao, T.-Y., Hu, Q. & Reno, J. L. Perfectly phase-matched third-order distributed feedback terahertz quantum-cascade lasers. Opt. Lett. 37, 2070–2072 (2012).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  14. Kao, T.-Y., Cai, X., Lee, A. W. M., Reno, J. L. & Hu, Q. Antenna coupled photonic wire lasers. Opt. Express 23, 17091–17100 (2015).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  15. Xu, G. et al. Surface-emitting terahertz quantum cascade lasers with continuous-wave power in the tens of milliwatt range. Appl. Phys. Lett. 104, 091112 (2014).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  16. Faist, J. Wallplug efficiency of quantum cascade lasers: critical parameters and fundamental limits. Appl. Phys. Lett. 90, 253512 (2007).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  17. Burghoff, D. et al. A terahertz pulse emitter monolithically integrated with a quantum cascade laser. Appl. Phys. Lett. 98, 061112 (2011).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  18. Lee, A. W. M., Qin, Q., Kumar, S., Williams, B. S. & Hu, Q. Real-time terahertz imaging over a standoff distance (>25 meters). Appl. Phys. Lett. 89, 141125 (2006).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

This work is supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This work was performed, in part, at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, an Office of Science User Facility operated for the US Department of Energy Office of Science. Sandia National Laboratories is a multiprogram laboratory managed and operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the US Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000. A.K. acknowledges support from Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

A.K. conceived the idea and strategy, designed and fabricated the devices and performed the measurements and analysis, and J.L.R. provided the material growth. A.K. benefited from in-depth discussions regarding the simulation and design strategy with N.P.K. All the work was done under the supervision of Q.H.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Qing Hu.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information (PDF 369 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Khalatpour, A., Reno, J., Kherani, N. et al. Unidirectional photonic wire laser. Nature Photon 11, 555–559 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2017.129

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2017.129

This article is cited by

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing