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Title: Metasurface quantum-cascade laser with electrically switchable polarization

Abstract

Dynamic control of a laser’s output polarization state is desirable for applications in polarization sensitive imaging, spectroscopy, and ellipsometry. Using external elements to control the polarization state is a common approach. Less common and more challenging is directly switching the polarization state of a laser, which, however, has the potential to provide high switching speeds, compactness, and power efficiency. Here, we demonstrate a new approach to achieve direct and electrically controlled polarization switching of a semiconductor laser. This is enabled by integrating a polarization-sensitive metasurface with a semiconductor gain medium to selectively amplify a cavity mode with the designed polarization state, therefore leading to an output in the designed polarization. Here, the demonstration is for a terahertz quantum-cascade laser, which exhibits electrically controlled switching between two linear polarizations separated by 80°, while maintaining an excellent beam with a narrow divergence of ~3°×3° and a single-mode operation fixed at ~3.4 THz, combined with a peak power as high as 93 mW at a temperature of 77 K. The polarization-sensitive metasurface is composed of two interleaved arrays of surface-emitting antennas, all of which are loaded with quantum-cascade gain materials. Each array is designed to resonantly interact with one specific polarization; when electricalmore » bias is selectively applied to the gain material in one array, selective amplification of one polarization occurs. The amplifying metasurface is used along with an output coupler reflector to build a vertical-external-cavity surface-emitting laser whose output polarization state can be switched solely electrically. In conclusion, this work demonstrates the potential of exploiting amplifying polarization-sensitive metasurfaces to create lasers with desirable polarization states—a concept which is applicable beyond the terahertz and can potentially be applied to shorter wavelengths.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [1];  [2];  [3];  [2];  [1]
  1. Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA (United States). Dept. of Electrical Engineering; Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA (United States). California NanoSystems Inst.
  2. Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA (United States). Dept. of Electrical Engineering
  3. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States). Center of Integrated Nanotechnologies
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) (SC-21); USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA); National Science Foundation (NSF); National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
OSTI Identifier:
1360798
Report Number(s):
SAND-2016-12371J
Journal ID: ISSN 2334-2536; 649740
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC04-94AL85000
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Optica
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 4; Journal Issue: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 2334-2536
Publisher:
Optical Society of America
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
47 OTHER INSTRUMENTATION

Citation Formats

Xu, Luyao, Chen, Daguan, Curwen, Christopher A., Memarian, Mohammad, Reno, John L., Itoh, Tatsuo, and Williams, Benjamin S. Metasurface quantum-cascade laser with electrically switchable polarization. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1364/OPTICA.4.000468.
Xu, Luyao, Chen, Daguan, Curwen, Christopher A., Memarian, Mohammad, Reno, John L., Itoh, Tatsuo, & Williams, Benjamin S. Metasurface quantum-cascade laser with electrically switchable polarization. United States. doi:10.1364/OPTICA.4.000468.
Xu, Luyao, Chen, Daguan, Curwen, Christopher A., Memarian, Mohammad, Reno, John L., Itoh, Tatsuo, and Williams, Benjamin S. Thu . "Metasurface quantum-cascade laser with electrically switchable polarization". United States. doi:10.1364/OPTICA.4.000468. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1360798.
@article{osti_1360798,
title = {Metasurface quantum-cascade laser with electrically switchable polarization},
author = {Xu, Luyao and Chen, Daguan and Curwen, Christopher A. and Memarian, Mohammad and Reno, John L. and Itoh, Tatsuo and Williams, Benjamin S.},
abstractNote = {Dynamic control of a laser’s output polarization state is desirable for applications in polarization sensitive imaging, spectroscopy, and ellipsometry. Using external elements to control the polarization state is a common approach. Less common and more challenging is directly switching the polarization state of a laser, which, however, has the potential to provide high switching speeds, compactness, and power efficiency. Here, we demonstrate a new approach to achieve direct and electrically controlled polarization switching of a semiconductor laser. This is enabled by integrating a polarization-sensitive metasurface with a semiconductor gain medium to selectively amplify a cavity mode with the designed polarization state, therefore leading to an output in the designed polarization. Here, the demonstration is for a terahertz quantum-cascade laser, which exhibits electrically controlled switching between two linear polarizations separated by 80°, while maintaining an excellent beam with a narrow divergence of ~3°×3° and a single-mode operation fixed at ~3.4 THz, combined with a peak power as high as 93 mW at a temperature of 77 K. The polarization-sensitive metasurface is composed of two interleaved arrays of surface-emitting antennas, all of which are loaded with quantum-cascade gain materials. Each array is designed to resonantly interact with one specific polarization; when electrical bias is selectively applied to the gain material in one array, selective amplification of one polarization occurs. The amplifying metasurface is used along with an output coupler reflector to build a vertical-external-cavity surface-emitting laser whose output polarization state can be switched solely electrically. In conclusion, this work demonstrates the potential of exploiting amplifying polarization-sensitive metasurfaces to create lasers with desirable polarization states—a concept which is applicable beyond the terahertz and can potentially be applied to shorter wavelengths.},
doi = {10.1364/OPTICA.4.000468},
journal = {Optica},
number = 4,
volume = 4,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {4}
}

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Cited by: 7 works
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Figures / Tables:

Figure 1 Figure 1: (a) An SEM image of the fabricated metasurface. The zigzag metasurface covers an area of 2 × 2 mm2. Only a center circular region of 1.5 mm diameter is biased, shown by the red dashed circle. The portions outside the circle have a SiO2 layer beneath the topmore » metallization to prevent the quantum well medium from being biased. The tapered terminations serve both as the wire bonding region and help suppress reflection of traveling waveguide modes to prevent selflasing. Antennas preferring one polarization direction are electrically connected together through the tapers on the top left of the metasurface, while others preferring the orthogonal polarization direction are connected together on the bottom right side. The inset shows a zoom-in SEM image. (b) A schematic of the plano-plano VECSEL cavity. (c) Top view of a portion of the metasurface illustrated with dimensions given in microns. One set of antennas - the ones interacting with radiation linearly polarized at 45° - is shown in dark blue, while the second set of antennas, which interacts with radiation linearly polarized at 135°, is shown in light blue. For brevity, the former set will be referred to as Set 1, while the latter will be referred to as Set 2. The region insidethe green dashed rectangular is one unit cell.« less

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    Works referencing / citing this record:

    Metasurface quantum-cascade laser with electrically switchable polarization [Supplemental Data]
    preprint, April 2017

    • Curwen, Christopher A.; Memarian, Mohammad; Reno, John L.
    • figshare-Supplementary information for journal article at DOI: 10.1364/OPTICA.4.000468, 1 PDF file (2.74 MB)
    • DOI: 10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3767381

      Figures/Tables have been extracted from DOE-funded journal article accepted manuscripts.