Electrically pumped semiconductor laser with monolithic control of circular polarization

Contributed by Federico Capasso, November 18, 2014 (sent for review September 23, 2014)
December 15, 2014
111 (52) E5623-E5632

Significance

As powerful semiconductor laser sources open up new possibilities for the realization of compact and versatile spectroscopy and detection systems, monolithic control of the laser output characteristics becomes essential. Whereas engineering of spectral characteristics and beam shape has reached a high level of maturity, manipulation of the polarization state remains challenging. We present a method for monolithic control of the degree of circular polarization by aperture antennas forming a surface-emitting grating on a semiconductor laser cavity and demonstrate its realization for a terahertz quantum cascade laser. Our approach is not limited to the terahertz regime and paves the way to an increased functionality and customizability of monolithic laser sources for a variety of applications (e.g., vibrational circular dichroism spectroscopy).

Abstract

We demonstrate surface emission of terahertz (THz) frequency radiation from a monolithic quantum cascade laser with built-in control over the degree of circular polarization by “fishbone” gratings composed of orthogonally oriented aperture antennas. Different grating concepts for circularly polarized emission are introduced along with the presentation of simulations and experimental results. Fifth-order gratings achieve a degree of circular polarization of up to 86% within a 12°-wide core region of their emission lobes in the far field. For devices based on an alternative transverse grating design, degrees of circular polarization as high as 98% are demonstrated for selected far-field regions of the outcoupled THz radiation and within a collection half-angle of about 6°. Potential and limitations of integrated antenna gratings for polarization-controlled emission are discussed.

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Acknowledgments

The authors acknowledge the Center for Nanoscale Systems (CNS) at Harvard University, a member of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network. We thank Nicholas Antoniou of Harvard CNS for his excellent support during focused-ion-beam structuring. We are grateful for support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the European Research Council program TOSCA (Terahertz Optoelectronics - From the Science of Cascades to Applications). A.G.D. acknowledges support from the Royal Society and Wolfson Foundation. P.R. acknowledges support from the Austrian Science Fund (Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung, project J 3092-N19).

Supporting Information

Supporting Information (PDF)
Supporting Information

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Information & Authors

Information

Published in

Go to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Vol. 111 | No. 52
December 30, 2014
PubMed: 25512515

Classifications

Submission history

Published online: December 15, 2014
Published in issue: December 30, 2014

Keywords

  1. quantum cascade laser
  2. terahertz
  3. circular polarization control
  4. antenna grating
  5. surface emission

Acknowledgments

The authors acknowledge the Center for Nanoscale Systems (CNS) at Harvard University, a member of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network. We thank Nicholas Antoniou of Harvard CNS for his excellent support during focused-ion-beam structuring. We are grateful for support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the European Research Council program TOSCA (Terahertz Optoelectronics - From the Science of Cascades to Applications). A.G.D. acknowledges support from the Royal Society and Wolfson Foundation. P.R. acknowledges support from the Austrian Science Fund (Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung, project J 3092-N19).

Authors

Affiliations

Patrick Rauter
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138; and
Present address: Institute of Semiconductor and Solid State Physics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, 4040 Linz, Austria.
Jiao Lin
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138; and
Present address: School of Physics, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia.
Patrice Genevet
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138; and
Present address: Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology, Singapore 638075, Singapore.
Suraj P. Khanna
School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, United Kingdom
Mohammad Lachab
School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, United Kingdom
A. Giles Davies
School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, United Kingdom
Edmund H. Linfield
School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, United Kingdom
Federico Capasso4 [email protected]
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138; and

Notes

4
To whom correspondence should be addressed. Email: [email protected].
Author contributions: P.R., J.L., and F.C. designed research; P.R. performed research; S.P.K., M.L., A.G.D., and E.H.L. provided the quantum cascade laser material; P.R., P.G., and F.C. analyzed data; and P.R., P.G., and F.C. wrote the paper.

Competing Interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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    Electrically pumped semiconductor laser with monolithic control of circular polarization
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
    • Vol. 111
    • No. 52
    • pp. 18401-18799

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