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Prospects and challenges of colloidal quantum dot laser diodes

Abstract

Colloidal quantum dots (QDs) combine the superior light-emission characteristics of quantum-confined semiconductors with the chemical flexibility of molecular systems. These properties could, in principle, enable solution-processable laser diodes with an ultrawide range of accessible colours. However, the realization of such devices has been hampered by fast optical gain decay due to non-radiative Auger recombination and poor stability of QD solids at the high current densities required for the lasing regime. Recently, these problems have been resolved, which resulted in the development of electrically pumped optical gain devices operating at ultrahigh current densities of around 1,000 A cm−2. The next step is the realization of a QD laser diode (QLD). Here we assess the status of the QD lasing field, examine the remaining challenges on the path to a QLD and discuss practical strategies for attaining electrically pumped QD lasing.

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Fig. 1: Electronic states in QDs and principles of optical gain in QD media.
Fig. 2: Principles of QLDs.
Fig. 3: Three-state optical-gain model and gain media based on cg-QDs.
Fig. 4: Droop-free QD-LEDs enabled by QD- and device-level engineering.
Fig. 5: Optical gain using high-current-density QD-LEDs.
Fig. 6: A QD-LED with an integrated optical cavity.

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Acknowledgements

V.I.K. and H.J. were supported by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) programme at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) under projects 20200213DR and 20210176ER, respectively. N.A. acknowledges support by a LANL Director’s Postdoctoral Fellowship.

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Correspondence to Victor I. Klimov.

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Jung, H., Ahn, N. & Klimov, V.I. Prospects and challenges of colloidal quantum dot laser diodes. Nat. Photon. 15, 643–655 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-021-00827-6

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