By engineering the boundary conditions of electromagnetic fields between material interfaces, one can dramatically change the Casimir-Lifshitz force between surfaces as a result of the modified zero-point energy density of the system. Repulsive interactions between macroscopic bodies occur when their dielectric responses obey a particular inequality, as pointed out by Dzyaloshinskii, Lifshitz, and Pitaevskii. We discuss experimental verification of this behavior as well as a description of how this can be used to develop a scheme for quantum levitation. Based on these concepts, we discuss the possible development of a new class of devices based on ultra-low static friction and the ability to sort objects based on their dielectric functions.
For more than three decades, research on tunneling through planar barriers has focused principally on processes that conserve momentum parallel to the barrier. Here we investigate transport in which scattering destroys lateral momentum conservation and greatly enhances the tunneling probability. We have measured its energy dependence using capacitance spectroscopy, and we show that for electrons confined in a quantum well, the scattering enhancement can be quenched in an applied magnetic field, enabling this mechanism to function as an external probe of the origin of the quantum Hall effect.
The self-assembly of colloids is an alternative to top-down processing that enables the fabrication of nanostructures. We show that self-assembled clusters of metal-dielectric spheres are the basis for nanophotonic structures. By tailoring the number and position of spheres in close-packed clusters, plasmon modes exhibiting strong magnetic and Fano-like resonances emerge. The use of identical spheres simplifies cluster assembly and facilitates the fabrication of highly symmetric structures. Dielectric spacers are used to tailor the interparticle spacing in these clusters to be approximately 2 nanometers. These types of chemically synthesized nanoparticle clusters can be generalized to other two- and three-dimensional structures and can serve as building blocks for new metamaterials.
N. YU, Q. J. Wang, M. A. Kats, J. A. Fan, F. Capasso, S. P. Khanna, L. Li, A.G. Davies, and E. H. Linfield. 2010. “Terahertz plasmonics.” ELECTRONICS LETTERS, 46, 26, S, Pp. S52-S57.Abstract
Semiconductor microstructures can be used to tailor the dispersion properties of surface plasmon polaritons in the terahertz (THz) frequency range, and therefore can be used as important building blocks for terahertz optical devices. The physical principles of three structures are discussed: plasmonic second-order gratings, designer (spoof) surface plasmon polariton structures, and channel polariton structures. The effectiveness of these structures is demonstrated by utilising them to improve power throughput and to reduce the beam divergence of edge-emitting THz quantum cascade lasers. Plasmonics promises compact and low-loss solutions for manipulating light at THz wavelengths, and will have a large impact on applications such as imaging, light detection and ranging (LIDAR), and the heterodyne detection of chemicals.
Pulse propagation phenomena are central to ultrashort pulse generation and amplification in lasers(1-5). In the coherent regime, the phase relationship between the pulse and the material transition is preserved, allowing both optical fields and material states to be controlled(6). The most prominent form of coherent manipulation is Rabi flopping(7), a phenomenon well established in few-level absorbers, including atoms and single quantum dots(8-19). However, Rabi flopping is generally much weaker in semiconductors because of strong dephasing in the electronic bands, in contrast to discrete-level systems. Although low-density induced coherent oscillations have been observed in semiconductor absorbers(11,13-20), coherent pulse propagation phenomena in active semiconductor devices have not been observed. In this Letter, we explore coherent pulse propagation in an operating quantum cascade laser and directly observe Rabi flopping and coherent pulse reshaping. This work demonstrates the applicability of few-level models for quantum cascade lasers and may stimulate novel approaches to short pulse generation(21,22).
We review our recent work on beam shaping of mid-infrared (mid-IR) and terahertz (THz) quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) using plasmonics. Essentials of QCLs are discussed; these include key developments, the operating principle based on quantum design, and beam quality problems associated with laser waveguide design. The bulk of the present paper is focused on the use of surface plasmons (SPs) to engineer the wavefront of QCLs. This is achieved by tailoring the SP dispersion using properly designed plasmonic structures, in particular, plasmonic Bragg gratings, designer (spoof) surface plasmon structures, and channel polariton structures. Using mid-IR and THz QCLs as a model system, various functionalities have been demonstrated, ranging from beam collimation, polarization control, to multibeam emission and spatial wavelength demultiplexing. Plasmonics offers a monolithic, compact, and low-loss solution to the problem of poor beam quality of QCLs and may have a large impact on applications such as sensing, light detection and ranging (LIDAR), free-space optical communication, and heterodyne detection of chemicals. The plasmonic designs are scalable and applicable to near-infrared active or passive optical devices. (C) 2010 Optical Society of America
Optical microcavities can be designed to take advantage of total internal reflection, which results in resonators supporting whispering-gallery modes (WGMs) with a high-quality factor (Q factor). One of the crucial problems of these devices for practical applications such as designing microcavity lasers, however, is that their emission is nondirectional due to their radial symmetry, in addition to their inefficient power output coupling. Here we report the design of elliptical resonators with a wavelength-size notch at the boundary, which support in-plane highly unidirectional laser emission from WGMs. The notch acts as a small scatterer such that the Q factor of the WGMs is still very high. Using midinfrared (lambda similar to 10 mu m) injection quantum cascade lasers as a model system, an in-plane beam divergence as small as 6 deg with a peak optical power of similar to 5 mW at room temperature has been demonstrated. The beam divergence is insensitive to the pumping current and to the notch geometry, demonstrating the robustness of this resonator design. The latter is scalable to the visible and the near infrared, thus opening the door to very low-threshold, highly unidirectional microcavity diode lasers.
A strain-balanced, InP-based quantum cascade laser structure, designed for light emission at 4.6 mu m using a new nonresonant extraction design approach, was grown by molecular beam epitaxy. Removal of the restrictive two-phonon resonant condition, currently used in most structure designs, allows simultaneous optimization of several design parameters influencing laser performance. Following the growth, the structure was processed in buried heterostructure. Maximum single-ended continuous-wave optical power of 3 W was obtained at 293 K for devices with stripe dimensions of 5 mm x 11.6 mu m. Corresponding maximum wallplug efficiency and threshold current density were measured to be 12.7% and 0.86 kA/cm(2). (C) 2009 American Institute of Physics. [doi: 10.1063/1.3238263]
Near-field scanning optical microscopes are widely used in imaging of subwavelength features in various material systems and nanostructures. For a variety of applications, polarization-sensitive near-field probes can provide valuable information on the nature and symmetry of the imaged nanoparticles and emitters. Conventional near-field optical microscopy lacks in-plane polarization sensitivity. Here, we use aligned single-wall carbon nanotubes as polarization-sensitive molecular scale probes to image the transverse near-field components of an optical Hertzian dipole antenna. Because of the Raman ``antenna effect'' in carbon nanotubes, only the near-field components along the nanotube axis are detected. These findings demonstrate that aligned carbon nanotubes can be used as polarization-sensitive near-field detectors.
We perform ray and wave simulations of passive and active spiral-shaped optical microcavities, comparing our results to experimental data obtained with mid-infrared quantum cascade spiral microlasers. Focusing on the angular emission characteristics, we find that both ray and wave simulations are consistent with the experimental data, showing richly-featured, multidirectional far-field emission patterns in the case of uniform pumping and TM-polarized light. Active cavity simulations using the Schrodinger-Bloch model indicate that selective pumping of the quantum cascade spiral microlasers near the resonator boundary will yield unidirectional laser emission. (c) 2009 Optical Society of America
Wavelength beam combining was used to co-propagate beams from 28 elements in an array of distributed-feedback quantum cascade lasers (DFB-QCLs). The beam-quality product of the array, defined as the product of near-field spot size and far-field divergence for the entire array, was improved by a factor of 21 by using wavelength beam combining. To demonstrate the applicability of wavelength beam combined DFB-QCL arrays for remote sensing, we obtained the absorption spectrum of isopropanol at a distance of 6 m from the laser array. (C) 2009 Optical Society of America
An ultra-broadband distributed-feedback quantum cascade laser array was fabricated, using a heterogeneous cascade based on two bound-to-continuum designs centered at 8.4 and 9.6 mu m. This array emitted in a range over 220 cm(-1) near a 9-mu m wavelength, operated in pulsed mode at room temperature. The output power of the array varied between 100- and 1100-mW peak intensity.
Quantum cascade lasers are a unique laboratory for studying nonlinear laser dynamics because of their high intracavity intensity, strong intersubband optical nonlinearity, and an unusual combination of relaxation time scales. Here we investigate the nonlinear coupling between the transverse modes of quantum cascade lasers. We present evidence for stable phase coherence of multiple transverse modes over a large range of injection currents. We explain the phase coherence by a four-wave mixing interaction originating from the strong optical nonlinearity of the gain transition. The phase-locking conditions predicted by theory are supported by spectral data and both near- and far-field mode measurements.
Systematic measurements of the photoluminescence lifetime of the 1.54 mu m transition of erbium implanted at different energies in SiO2 films with different metallic overlayers are reported. The lifetime shows a strong reduction up to a factor of 20 with decreasing distance between the erbium and the metal overlayer. The reduction of lifetime is mainly due to a near-field interaction between the erbium ions and the metal overlayers through generation of surface plasmon polaritons at the metal/SiO2 interface and direct generation of heat in the metal. These experiments combined with rigorous theoretical modeling demonstrate that a high degree of control over the radiative properties of erbium can be achieved in erbium-implanted materials in a wide range of implantation energies. The experiments also allow us to determine the radiative efficiency of erbium in bulk SiO2.
We report the experimental realization of deformed microcavity quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) with a Lima on-shaped chaotic resonator. Directional light emission with a beam divergence of theta(parallel to) approximate to 33 degrees from QCLs emitting at lambda approximate to 10 mu m was obtained in the plane of the cavity for deformations in the range 0.37 < epsilon < 0.43. An excellent agreement between measured and calculated far-field profiles was found. Both simulations and experiments show that the Lima on-shaped microcavity preserves whispering gallery-like modes with high Q-factors for low deformations (epsilon < 0.50). In addition, while the measured spectra show a transition from whispering gallery-like modes to a more complex mode structure at higher pumping currents, we observed `universal far-field behavior' for different intracavity mode distributions in the Lima on
Benjamin G. Lee, Mikhail A. Belkin, Christian Pfluegl, Laurent Diehl, Haifei A. Zhang, Ross M. Audet, Jim MacArthur, David P. Bour, Scott W. Corzine, Gloria E. Hoefler, and Federico Capasso. 2009. “DFB Quantum Cascade Laser Arrays.” IEEE JOURNAL OF QUANTUM ELECTRONICS, 45, 5-6, Pp. 554-565.Abstract
DFB quantum cascade laser (DFB-QCL) arrays operating between 8.7 and 9.4 mu m are investigated for their performance characteristics-single-mode selection of the DFB grating, and variability in threshold, slope efficiency, and output power of different lasers in the array. Single-mode selection refers to the ability to choose a desired mode/frequency of laser emission with a DFB grating. We apply a theoretical framework developed for general DFB gratings to analyze DFB-QCL arrays. We calculate how the performance characteristics of DFB-QCLs are affected by the coupling strength kappa L of the grating, and the relative position of the mirror facets at the ends of the laser cavity with respect to the grating. We discuss how single-mode selection can be improved by design. Several DFB-QCL arrays are fabricated and their performance examined. We achieve desired improvements in single-mode selection, and we observe the predicted variability in the threshold, slope efficiency, and output power of the DFB-QCLs. As a demonstration of potential applications, the DFB-QCL arrays are used to perform infrared absorption spectroscopy with fluids.
We report experimental demonstration of directional light emission from limaccedilon-shaped microcavity semiconductor lasers. Quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) emitting at lambda approximate to 10 mu m are used as a model system. Both ray optics and wave simulations show that for deformations in the range 0.37
We report observation of catalyst-free hydride vapor phase epitaxy growth of InN nanorods. Characterization of the nanorods with transmission electron microscopy, and X-ray diffraction show that the nanorods are stoichiometric 2H-InN single crystals growing in the  orientation. The InN rods are uniform, showing very little variation in both diameter and length. Surprisingly, the rods show clear epitaxial relations with the c-plane sapphire substrate, despite about 29% of lattice mismatch. Comparing catalyst-free with Ni-catalyzed growth, the only difference observed is in the density of nucleation sites, suggesting that Ni does not work like the typical vapor-liquid-solid catalyst, but rather functions as a nucleation promoter by catalyzing the decomposition of ammonia. No conclusive photoluminescence was observed from single nanorods, while integrating over a large area showed weak wide emissions centered at 0.78 and at 1.9 eV.
The authors study the microscopic origin of the electroluminescence from zinc oxide (ZnO) nanowire light-emitting diodes (LEDs) fabricated on a heavily doped p-type silicon (p-Si) substrate. By comparing the low-temperature photoluminescence and electroluminescence of a single nanowire LED, bound- and free-exciton related recombination processes, together with their longitudinal-optical phonon replicas, can be identified as the origin of both electroluminescence and photoluminescence.