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Double-lattice photonic-crystal resonators enabling high-brightness semiconductor lasers with symmetric narrow-divergence beams

Abstract

Achieving high brightness (where brightness is defined as optical power per unit area per unit solid angle) in semiconductor lasers is important for various applications, including direct-laser processing and light detection and ranging for next-generation smart production and mobility. Although the brightness of semiconductor lasers has been increased by the use of edge-emitting-type resonators, their brightness is still one order of magnitude smaller than that of gas and solid-state/fibre lasers, and they often suffer from large beam divergence with strong asymmetry and astigmatism. Here, we develop a so-called ‘double-lattice photonic crystal’, where we superimpose two photonic lattice groups separated by one-quarter wavelength in the x and y directions. Using this resonator, an output power of 10 W with a very narrow-divergence-angle (<0.3°) symmetric surface-emitted beam is achieved from a circular emission area of 500 μm diameter under pulsed conditions, which corresponds to a brightness of over 300 MW cm−2 sr−1. In addition, an output power up to ~7 W is obtained under continuous-wave conditions. Detailed analyses on the double-lattice structure indicate that the resonators have the potential to realize a brightness of up to 10 GW cm−2 sr−1, suggesting that compact, affordable semiconductor lasers will be able to rival existing gas and fibre/disk lasers.

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Fig. 1: Double-lattice photonic-crystal resonators.
Fig. 2: Examples of double-lattice photonic-crystal resonators and calculated mode stability.
Fig. 3: Process flow for fabricating double-lattice photonic crystals and lasing characteristics of the laser device under room-temperature, pulsed conditions.
Fig. 4: Lasing characteristics of the double-lattice photonic-crystal laser under c.w. conditions.
Fig. 5: Optimized double-lattice photonic-crystal resonators using destructive interaction between 180°- and 90°-diffracted light waves.

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The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the ACCEL programme commissioned by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and the Photon Frontier Network Program of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), and is supported by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). M.Y. also acknowledges support by a Grant-in-Aid for JSPS Fellows. The authors thank S. Yagi, H. Kitagawa, A. Watanabe, E. Miyai, and W. Kunishi for fruitful discussions.

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Contributions

S.N. designed and directed this work. M.Y. fabricated the device with K.I. and M.D.Z. M.Y. measured the lasing characteristics with M.K. Y.T. and J.G. conducted the theoretical analysis of the device. H.R. performed epitaxial growth for the device. M.D.Z and B.S assembled the device. M.Y. wrote the manuscript with S.N. and J.G.

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Correspondence to Susumu Noda.

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Supplementary Sections 1–5, Supplementary Figures 1–5, Supplementary References 1–14

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Yoshida, M., De Zoysa, M., Ishizaki, K. et al. Double-lattice photonic-crystal resonators enabling high-brightness semiconductor lasers with symmetric narrow-divergence beams. Nature Mater 18, 121–128 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41563-018-0242-y

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