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Room-temperature continuous-wave indirect-bandgap transition lasing in an ultra-thin WS2 disk

Abstract

Small semiconductor lasers that can be integrated on a chip are essential for a wide range of optical applications, including optical computing, communication and sensing. Practical laser applications have only been developed with direct-bandgap materials because of a general belief that lasing action from indirect-bandgap materials is almost impossible. Here we report unexpected indirect-bandgap transition lasing in an ultra-thin WS2 disk. We demonstrate that a 50-nm-thick WS2 disk offers efficient optical gain and whispering gallery modes that are sufficient for lasing action. As a result, the WS2 disk exhibits indirect transition lasing, even under continuous-wave excitation at room temperature. Our experimental results are in close agreement with theoretical modelling for phonon-assisted photon lasing. The results derived from external cavity-free ultra-thin WS2 layers offer a new direction for van-der-Waals-material-based nanophotonics and introduce the possibility for optical devices based on indirect-bandgap materials.

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Fig. 1: Ultra-thin WS2 disk as a WGM cavity.
Fig. 2: Optically pumped WS2 disk.
Fig. 3: Characteristics of the lasing action.
Fig. 4: Coherence of the laser emission.

Data availability

All the relevant data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding authors on reasonable request.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2019R1A2C2003313) and the National R&D Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (2020M3H3A1105796, 2021M3F3A2A03017083). We acknowledge support provided by the Samsung Science and Technology Foundation (SSTF-BA1902-03) and a Korea University Grant. Y.D.K. acknowledges support from the NRF of Korea (2021K1A3A1A32084700, 2021R1A2C2093155). Electron-beam lithography systems were investigated in the Multidimensional Materials Research Center at Kyung Hee University (2021R1A6C101A437).

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Contributions

S.-H.G. conceptualized and supervised the study. J.S. and S.-H.G. performed all data analysis and visualization. J.S., S.P. and Y.D.K. fabricated the sample structures. J.S., J.S.M., D.S. and S.W.L. conducted the optical experiments and data collection. S.-H.G., J.S. and H.C. developed the theoretical model. S.-H.G. and J.S. wrote the original draft. S.-H.G., J.-H.K. and Y.D.K. reviewed and edited the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Su-Hyun Gong.

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Nature Photonics thanks Di Liang and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Sung, J., Shin, D., Cho, H. et al. Room-temperature continuous-wave indirect-bandgap transition lasing in an ultra-thin WS2 disk. Nat. Photon. 16, 792–797 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-022-01085-w

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