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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jan 15;110(3):865-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1217335110. Epub 2013 Jan 2.

Cleaved-coupled nanowire lasers.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


The miniaturization of optoelectronic devices is essential for the continued success of photonic technologies. Nanowires have been identified as potential building blocks that mimic conventional photonic components such as interconnects, waveguides, and optical cavities at the nanoscale. Semiconductor nanowires with high optical gain offer promising solutions for lasers with small footprints and low power consumption. Although much effort has been directed toward controlling their size, shape, and composition, most nanowire lasers currently suffer from emitting at multiple frequencies simultaneously, arising from the longitudinal modes native to simple Fabry-Pérot cavities. Cleaved-coupled cavities, two Fabry-Pérot cavities that are axially coupled through an air gap, are a promising architecture to produce single-frequency emission. The miniaturization of this concept, however, imposes a restriction on the dimensions of the intercavity gaps because severe optical losses are incurred when the cross-sectional dimensions of cavities become comparable to the lasing wavelength. Here we theoretically investigate and experimentally demonstrate spectral manipulation of lasing modes by creating cleaved-coupled cavities in gallium nitride (GaN) nanowires. Lasing operation at a single UV wavelength at room temperature was achieved using nanoscale gaps to create the smallest cleaved-coupled cavities to date. Besides the reduced number of lasing modes, the cleaved-coupled nanowires also operate with a lower threshold gain than that of the individual component nanowires. Good agreement was found between the measured lasing spectra and the predicted spectral modes obtained by simulating optical coupling properties. This agreement between theory and experiment presents design principles to rationally control the lasing modes in cleaved-coupled nanowire lasers.

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