Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a nanolaser platform built from materials that do not exhibit optical gain.
The development of commercial scale, high-efficiency, nanoscale lasers for widespread use in various applications has proven difficult to-date. Materials such as silicon have widespread application in optical waveguides and photonic integrated circuits, but have properties that can restrict their usefulness in lasers. Other constraints of creating lasers at nanoscale include materials science limitations and their relative energy inefficiency.
Researchers at the University of California, Davis have designed high-quality lasers that contain nanoscale optical cavities. In addition, the laser’s cavity is produced from materials that allow the laser’s wavelength to be temperature independent over a relatively wide temperature range. The lasers exploit waveguides and nanophotonic cavities fabricated directly onto silicon or other materials possessing no optical gain. Thus, high-quality CMOS transistors can be integrated into the platform. In addition, the energy efficiency of the lasers designed to-date using this platform can exceed 30%.