skip to main content


Title: Terahertz plasmonic laser radiating in an ultra-narrow beam

Plasmonic lasers (spasers) generate coherent surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) and could be realized at subwavelength dimensions in metallic cavities for applications in nanoscale optics. Plasmonic cavities are also utilized for terahertz quantum-cascade lasers (QCLs), which are the brightest available solid-state sources of terahertz radiation. A long standing challenge for spasers that are utilized as nanoscale sources of radiation, is their poor coupling to the far-field radiation. Unlike conventional lasers that could produce directional beams, spasers have highly divergent radiation patterns due to their subwavelength apertures. Here, we theoretically and experimentally demonstrate a new technique for implementing distributed feedback (DFB) that is distinct from any other previously utilized DFB schemes for semiconductor lasers. The so-termed antenna-feedback scheme leads to single-mode operation in plasmonic lasers, couples the resonant SPP mode to a highly directional far-field radiation pattern, and integrates hybrid SPPs in surrounding medium into the operation of the DFB lasers. Experimentally, the antenna-feedback method, which does not require the phase matching to a well-defined effective index, is implemented for terahertz QCLs, and single-mode terahertz QCLs with a beam divergence as small as 4°×4° are demonstrated, which is the narrowest beam reported for any terahertz QCL to date. Moreover, in contrast tomore » a negligible radiative field in conventional photonic band-edge lasers, in which the periodicity follows the integer multiple of half-wavelengths inside the active medium, antenna-feedback breaks this integer limit for the first time and enhances the radiative field of the lasing mode. Terahertz lasers with narrow-beam emission will find applications for integrated as well as standoff terahertz spectroscopy and sensing. Furthermore, the antenna-feedback scheme is generally applicable to any plasmonic laser with a Fabry–Perot cavity irrespective of its operating wavelength and could bring plasmonic lasers closer to practical applications.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Lehigh Univ., Bethlehem, PA (United States)
  2. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2334-2536; 647337
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 3; Journal Issue: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 2334-2536
Optical Society of America
Research Org:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; lasers; distributed-feedback; semiconductor lasers; quantum cascade; surface plasmons
OSTI Identifier: