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Proceedings Paper

Semiconductor plasmon laser
Author(s): Volker J. Sorger; Rupert F. Oulton; Thomas Zentgraf; Renmin Ma; Christopher Gladden; Lun Dai; Guy Bartal; Xiang Zhang
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Paper Abstract

Laser science has tackled physical limitations to achieve higher power, faster and smaller light sources. The quest for ultra-compact laser that can directly generate coherent optical fields at the nano-scale, far beyond the diffraction limit of light, remains a key fundamental challenge. Microscopic lasers based on photonic crystals3, metal clad cavities4 and nanowires can now reach the diffraction limit, which restricts both the optical mode size and physical device dimension to be larger than half a wavelength. While surface plasmons are capable of tightly localizing light, ohmic loss at optical frequencies has inhibited the realization of truly nano-scale lasers. Recent theory has proposed a way to significantly reduce plasmonic loss while maintaining ultra-small modes by using a hybrid plasmonic waveguide. Using this approach, we report an experimental demonstration of nano-scale plasmonic lasers producing optical modes 100 times smaller than the diffraction limit, utilizing a high gain Cadmium Sulphide semiconductor nanowire atop a Silver surface separated by a 5 nm thick insulating gap. Direct measurements of emission lifetime reveal a broad-band enhancement of the nanowire's exciton spontaneous emission rate up to 6 times due to the strong mode confinement and the signature of apparently threshold-less lasing. Since plasmonic modes have no cut-off, we show downscaling of the lateral dimensions of both device and optical mode. As these optical coherent sources approach molecular and electronics length scales, plasmonic lasers offer the possibility to explore extreme interactions between light and matter, opening new avenues in active photonic circuits, bio-sensing and quantum information technology.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 September 2010
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 7757, Plasmonics: Metallic Nanostructures and Their Optical Properties VIII, 77570U (10 September 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.859136
Show Author Affiliations
Volker J. Sorger, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
Rupert F. Oulton, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
Thomas Zentgraf, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
Renmin Ma, Peking Univ. (China)
Christopher Gladden, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
Lun Dai, Peking Univ. (China)
Guy Bartal, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
Xiang Zhang, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7757:
Plasmonics: Metallic Nanostructures and Their Optical Properties VIII
Mark I. Stockman, Editor(s)

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