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Topological-cavity surface-emitting laser


Output power and beam quality are the two main bottlenecks for semiconductor lasers—the favourite light sources in countless applications because of their compactness, high efficiency and cheapness. Both limitations are due to the fact that it becomes increasingly harder to stabilize a single-mode laser over a broader chip area without multi-mode operations. Here we address this fundamental difficulty with the Dirac-vortex topological cavity1, which offers the optimal single-mode selection in two dimensions. Our topological-cavity surface-emitting laser (TCSEL) exhibits 10 W peak power, sub-1° divergence angle and 60 dB side-mode suppression, among the best-reported performance ever at 1,550 nm—the most important telecommunication and eye-safe wavelength where high-performance surface emitters have always been difficult to make2. We also demonstrate the multi-wavelength capability of two-dimensional TCSEL arrays that are not generally available for commercial lasers2,3. TCSEL, as a new-generation high-brightness surface emitter, can be directly extended to any other wavelength range and is promising for an extremely wide variety of uses.

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Fig. 1: Single-mode lasers of topological mid-gap modes.
Fig. 2: TCSEL modelled by the coupled wave theory.
Fig. 3: TCSEL performance.
Fig. 4: Multi-wavelength 2D TCSEL array.

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All the relevant data are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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We thank C. Peng, M. H. Shih and Y. Liang for discussions and the Laboratory of Microfabrication, IOP CAS, for sample fabrication. This work was supported by the Chinese Academy of Sciences through the Project for Young Scientists in Basic Research (YSBR-021), the Strategic Priority Research Program (XDB33000000), the International Partnership Program with the Croucher Foundation (112111KYSB20200024), Beijing Natural Science Foundation (Z200008), National Key R&D Program of China (2017YFA0303800) and Natural Science Foundation of China (12025409, 11721404 and 11974415).

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L.Y. fabricated and measured the devices. G.L. and X.G. performed the numerical simulations. L.L. led the project and wrote the manuscript with G.L.

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Correspondence to Ling Lu.

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Nature Photonics thanks the anonymous reviewers for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Yang, L., Li, G., Gao, X. et al. Topological-cavity surface-emitting laser. Nat. Photon. 16, 279–283 (2022).

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