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Published April 2012 | Published
Journal Article Open

From vertical-cavities to hybrid metal/photonic-crystal nanocavities: towards high-efficiency nanolasers


We provide a numerical study showing that a bottom reflector is indispensable to achieve unidirectional emission from a photonic-crystal (PhC) nanolaser. First, we study a PhC slab nanocavity suspended over a flat mirror formed by a dielectric or metal substrate. We find that the laser's vertical emission can be enhanced by more than a factor of 6 compared with the device in the absence of the mirror. Then, we study the situation where the PhC nanocavity is in contact with a flat metal surface. The underlying metal substrate may serve as both an electrical current pathway and a heat sink, which would help achieve continuous-wave lasing operation at room temperature. The design of the laser emitting at 1.3 μm reveals that a relatively high cavity Q of over 1000 is achievable assuming room-temperature gold as a substrate. Furthermore, linearly polarized unidirectional vertical emission with the radiation efficiency over 50% can be achieved. Finally, we discuss how this hybrid design relates to various plasmonic cavities and propose a useful quantitative measure of the degree of the "plasmonic" character in a general metallic nanocavity.

Additional Information

© 2012 Optical Society of America. Received September 1, 2011; revised December 1, 2011; accepted December 2, 2011; posted December 2, 2011 (Doc. ID 153695); published March 9, 2012. The authors would like to acknowledge support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency under the Nanoscale Architecture for Coherent Hyperoptical Sources program under grant #W911NF-07-1-0277 and from the National Science Foundation through NSF CIAN ERC under grant #EEC-0812072.

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