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Actively tunable laser action in GeSn nanomechanical oscillators


Mechanical forces induced by high-speed oscillations provide an elegant way to dynamically alter the fundamental properties of materials such as refractive index, absorption coefficient and gain dynamics. Although the precise control of mechanical oscillation has been well developed in the past decades, the notion of dynamic mechanical forces has not been harnessed for developing tunable lasers. Here we demonstrate actively tunable mid-infrared laser action in group-IV nanomechanical oscillators with a compact form factor. A suspended GeSn cantilever nanobeam on a Si substrate is resonantly driven by radio-frequency waves. Electrically controlled mechanical oscillation induces elastic strain that periodically varies with time in the GeSn nanobeam, enabling actively tunable lasing emission at >2 μm wavelengths. By utilizing mechanical resonances in the radio frequency as a driving mechanism, this work presents wide-range mid-infrared tunable lasers with ultralow tuning power consumption.

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Fig. 1: Design of a GeSn nanomechanical oscillator for actively tunable laser action.
Fig. 2: Mechanical characterization and simulation.
Fig. 3: Laser emission characteristics from an actuated oscillator.
Fig. 4: Theoretical analysis for the laser-tuning behaviour.

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The data that support the findings of this study are available in this article and its Supplementary Information. Any other relevant data are available from the corresponding authors upon request.


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This work is supported by the National Research Foundation of Singapore through the NRF-ANR Joint Grant (NRF2018-NRF-ANR009 TIGER). This work is also supported by the National Research Foundation of Singapore through the Competitive Research Program (NRF-CRP19-2017-01). This work is also supported by the iGrant of Singapore A*STAR AME IRG (A2083c0053). This research is also supported by the National Research Foundation, Singapore, and A*STAR under its Quantum Engineering Programme (NRF2022-QEP2-02-P13), by ANR-18-CE24-0025 project TIGER and the ENS-Thales Chair. We acknowledge and thank the Nanyang NanoFabrication Centre (N2FC). We also thank D. Zhu, J. Witzens and B. Marzban for fruitful discussions.

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Authors and Affiliations



D.N., C.S. and Y.T. conceived the initial idea of the project. H.-J.J. fabricated the samples. H.-J.J. and D.N. planned the optical experiments. H.-J.J. and M.C. carried out the optical measurements. J.L. and B.C. conducted the optomechanical simulations and characterization measurements. D.G. assisted with the mechanical measurement setup. J.L., Y.T. and A.V. conducted theoretical studies on driven nanomechanical oscillators. Under the guidance of D.N., Y.T. and C.S., H.-J.J. and J.L. performed the data analysis. Y.K. optimized the laser structure by performing optical simulations. Z.I. conducted the band structure simulations and gain modelling. K.L. and X.S. assisted with the optical measurement setup. Y.-I.S. contributed to the construction of the RF drive setup. L.Z. and C.S.T. prepared the GeSn wafer. D.B. fabricated the GeSnOI substrates. H.-J.J. and D.N. led the manuscript writing with input from J.L., M.C., D.B., C.S. and Y.T. All authors discussed the data and participated in preparing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Carlo Sirtori, Yanko Todorov or Donguk Nam.

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Supplementary Notes 1–12, Figs. 1–15 and Table 1.

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Joo, HJ., Liu, J., Chen, M. et al. Actively tunable laser action in GeSn nanomechanical oscillators. Nat. Nanotechnol. (2024).

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