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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: Michael Duncan
  • Vol. 12, Iss. 8 — Apr. 19, 2004
  • pp: 1562–1568
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Room temperature continuous wave operation of a surface-emitting two-dimensional photonic crystal diode laser

Dai Ohnishi, Takayuki Okano, Masahiro Imada, and Susumu Noda  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Express, Vol. 12, Issue 8, pp. 1562-1568 (2004)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OPEX.12.001562


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Abstract

We achieved room temperature continuous wave operation of a surface-emitting two-dimensional photonic crystal diode laser by current injection. This is the first time ever that room temperature continuous wave operation of a photonic crystal diode laser has been realized. This laser features single mode oscillation over a large area, which is impossible for conventional lasers. In this work, we optimized the epitaxial layer composition for better carrier confinement and clarified the relationship between the diameter of the air holes in the photonic crystal and the threshold current of the laser in order to estimate the optimized threshold current.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

1. Introduction

Photonic crystals [1

1. E. Yablonovitch, “Inhibited spontaneous emission in solid-state physics and electronics,” Phys. Rev. Lett. , 58, 2059–2062 (1987). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

3

3. S. Noda, K. Tomoda, N. Yamamoto, and A. Chutinan, “Full three-dimensional photonic bandgap crystals at near-infrared wavelength,” Science 298, 604–606 (2000). [CrossRef]

], which have a periodic refractive index change, possess great potential for realizing new optical devices. The photonic band-gap is a well-known property of photonic crystals that allows them to block light waves selectively. Many types of two-dimensional (2D) photonic crystal lasers, such as defect-mode lasers using the photonic bandgap and artificially-introduced defects [4

4. O. Painter, R. K. Lee, A. Scherer, A. Yariv, J. D. O’Brien, P. D. Dapkus, and I. Kim, “Two-Dimensional Photonic Band-Gap Defect Mode Laser,” Science 284, 1819–1821 (1999). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

] or multi-directional distributed feedback (DFB) lasers [5

5. M. Imada, S. Noda, A. Chutinan, T. Tokuda, M. Murata, and G. Sasaki, “Coherent two-dimensional lasing action in surface-emitting laser with triangular-lattice photonic crystal structure,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 75, 316–318 (1999). [CrossRef]

,6

6. M. Meier, A. Mekis, A. Dodabalapur, A. Timko, R. E. Slusher, J. D. Joannopoulos, and O. Nalamasu, “Laser action from two-dimensional distributed feedback in photonic crystals,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 74, 7–9(1999). [CrossRef]

] have been demonstrated. In particular, surface-emitting 2D photonic crystal lasers [5

5. M. Imada, S. Noda, A. Chutinan, T. Tokuda, M. Murata, and G. Sasaki, “Coherent two-dimensional lasing action in surface-emitting laser with triangular-lattice photonic crystal structure,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 75, 316–318 (1999). [CrossRef]

] (Fig. 1) are operated by current injection and have the capability for single mode oscillation over a broad area due to the 2D DFB effect. Broad-area lasers have several advantages, not only in terms of high output power and heat sinking, but they also exhibit a narrow divergence angle.

Fig.1.Schematic . iagram of the device structure.
Fig. 2. (a) Schematic of a square lattice photonic crystal. The two narrow arrows indicate two particular directions G-X and G-M, and the broad arrows indicate propagating light waves. (b) Schematic showing the propagating directions of the coupled waves.

2. Design and fabrication

Fig. 3. Schematic conduction band diagram of the layer structure near the active layer.

After all of these processes, we made an analysis of the devices by secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS). The thickness (20 nm) and the aluminum composition of the Al0.25Ga0.75As and Al0.30Ga0.70As sub-cladding layers were confirmed as meeting the design criteria. Therefore, the sub-cladding layer was not thin enough for carriers to overflow by the tunneling effect and the band gap was as expected, which would not have been the case if aluminum diffused during the wafer fusion process at high temperature.

3. Results and discussion

Fig. 4. Temperature characteristic of the devices under pulsed conditions (1kHz-500ns).

Fig. 5. Lasing characteristics of the device under RT-CW condition. (a) Lasing spectrum. The operation current was 70 mA. (b) Light output power-current characteristic.

The lasing spectrum and the light output power-current characteristic of the device under CW condition at RT are shown in Figs. 5(a) and (b) respectively. According to Figs. 5(a) and (b), lasing oscillation at 959.44 nm and light output power of over 4 mW under CW operation at RT is successfully obtained with this device. Full width at half maximum of the spectrum can be estimated to be 0.35 nm, which is determined by the resolution limit of our measurement system. The threshold current was 65 mA.

The near-field pattern of the device as detected by a CCD camera is shown in Fig. 6(a). The length of one side of the square-shaped electrode shown in the center of Fig. 6(a) is 50 µm, and this picture indicates that two-dimensional lasing oscillation is obtained in four equivalent G-X directions. The doughnut-shaped far field pattern of the device is shown in Fig. 6(b). According to the far field pattern and the polarization characteristics of the device, the transverse mode of the surface-emitted beam was the lowest order transverse electric mode (TE01) in terms of propagation mode in the multimode optical fiber [12

12. M. M. K. Liu, Principles and applications of optical communications (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1996).

]. The mode produced by this semiconductor laser is unique, and new applications for such a mode can be expected. We can also choose the lasing mode by designing the photonic crystal structure [7

7. S. Noda, M. Yokoyama, M. Imada, A. Chutinan, and M. Mochizuki, “Polarization Mode Control of Two-Dimensional Photonic Crystal Laser by Unit Cell Structure Design,” Science 293, 1123–1125 (2001). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

], which is one of the most important merits of this laser. The angle of divergence of the output light was about 1.1°. Such a narrow divergence angle is also unique, and has similar repercussions to the phenomenon described above.

Fig. 6. (a) Near field pattern and polarization characteristics of the device. The blue open circles indicate the measurement points with a diameter of about 10 µm, and red double-headed arrows show the direction of polarization at each point. The operating current was 76 mA. (b) Far field pattern of the device. The operating current was 66 mA.
Fig. 7. Relationship between the air-filling factor and the normalized threshold current at 20°C.

RT-CW operation of a photonic crystal laser was successfully demonstrated for the first time, as described above. Next, we discuss the optimized threshold current of the laser. In this work, we explicitly investigated the relationship between the air-filling factor and the threshold current of the laser, and the experimental result for the Al0.25Ga0.75As sub-cladding layer is shown in Fig. 7. The threshold currents are normalized along the lowest threshold current in Fig. 7 and the dashed line in Fig. 7 is a fitting curve of the experimental result. The optimal region of the air-filling factor was between about 10% and 15%, as shown in Fig.7. However, in the case of the device shown in Fig. 5 and Fig. 6, the diameter obtained from the cross-sectional scanning electron microscope image is about 133 nm, and the calculated air-filling factor is about 17%. Although the designed diameter was smaller, diameter that was outside of the optimal region was obtained due to mass transport during the wafer fusion process at high temperature. When an air-filling factor is achieved that is within the optimal region by optimizing the wafer-bonding conditions, including the fusion temperature, the threshold current of the device with the Al0.30Ga0.70As sub-cladding layer can be reduced to about 15 mA. This indicates the capacity for further reduction of the threshold current in this device.

4. Summary

In summary, we have succeeded for the first time in operating a surface-emitting 2D photonic crystal diode laser in CW mode at RT by current injection. We used an Al0.3Ga0.7As sub-cladding layer between the active layer and the photonic crystal layer to block carriers into the active layer. By using the sub-cladding layer, carriers are confined in the active layer and RT-CW operation is successfully realized in this work. We also investigated the relationship between the air-filling factor and the threshold current of the device experimentally, and estimated the threshold current when the air-filling factor is optimized.

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Dr. Masayuki Fujita, Mr. Shinpei Ogawa, Dr. Eiji Miyai, Mr. Kyosuke Sakai, Mr. Takui Sakaguchi and Mr. Mitsuru Yokoyama for helpful discussions and assistance. This work was partly supported by Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology-Japan Science and Technology Agency (CREST-JST), 21st Century COE Program-Kyoto University, Kyoto Nanotechnology Cluster (Kyo-nano).

References and Links

1.

E. Yablonovitch, “Inhibited spontaneous emission in solid-state physics and electronics,” Phys. Rev. Lett. , 58, 2059–2062 (1987). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

2.

S. Noda, A. Chutinan, and M. Imada, “Trapping and emission of photons by a single defect in a photonic bandgap structure,” Nature (London) 407, 608–610 (2000). [CrossRef]

3.

S. Noda, K. Tomoda, N. Yamamoto, and A. Chutinan, “Full three-dimensional photonic bandgap crystals at near-infrared wavelength,” Science 298, 604–606 (2000). [CrossRef]

4.

O. Painter, R. K. Lee, A. Scherer, A. Yariv, J. D. O’Brien, P. D. Dapkus, and I. Kim, “Two-Dimensional Photonic Band-Gap Defect Mode Laser,” Science 284, 1819–1821 (1999). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

5.

M. Imada, S. Noda, A. Chutinan, T. Tokuda, M. Murata, and G. Sasaki, “Coherent two-dimensional lasing action in surface-emitting laser with triangular-lattice photonic crystal structure,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 75, 316–318 (1999). [CrossRef]

6.

M. Meier, A. Mekis, A. Dodabalapur, A. Timko, R. E. Slusher, J. D. Joannopoulos, and O. Nalamasu, “Laser action from two-dimensional distributed feedback in photonic crystals,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 74, 7–9(1999). [CrossRef]

7.

S. Noda, M. Yokoyama, M. Imada, A. Chutinan, and M. Mochizuki, “Polarization Mode Control of Two-Dimensional Photonic Crystal Laser by Unit Cell Structure Design,” Science 293, 1123–1125 (2001). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

8.

D. Ohnishi, K. Sakai, M. Imada, and S. Noda, “Continuous wave operation of surface emitting twodimensional photonic crystal laser,” Electron. Lett. 39, 612–614 (2003). [CrossRef]

9.

J. D. Joannopoulos, R. D. Meade, and J. N. Winn, Photonic Crystals (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1995).

10.

M. Fujita, R. Ushigome, and T. Baba, “Continuous wave lasing in GaInAsP microdisk injection laser with threshold current of 40 µA,” Electron. Lett. 36, 790–791 (2000). [CrossRef]

11.

W. Streifer, D. R. Scifres, and R. D. Burnham, “Coupling coefficient for distributed feedback single- and double-heterostructure diode lasers,” IEEE J. Quantum Electron. QE-11, 867–873 (1975) [CrossRef]

12.

M. M. K. Liu, Principles and applications of optical communications (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1996).

OCIS Codes
(140.2020) Lasers and laser optics : Diode lasers
(250.7270) Optoelectronics : Vertical emitting lasers

ToC Category:
Focus Issue: Photonic crystals and holey fibers

History
Original Manuscript: March 4, 2004
Revised Manuscript: March 26, 2004
Published: April 19, 2004

Citation
Dai Ohnishi, Takayuki Okano, Masahiro Imada, and Susumu Noda, "Room temperature continuous wave operation of a surface-emitting two-dimensional photonic crystal diode laser," Opt. Express 12, 1562-1568 (2004)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-12-8-1562


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References

  1. E. Yablonovitch, �??Inhibited spontaneous emission in solid-state physics and electronics,�?? Phys. Rev. Lett., 58, 2059-2062 (1987). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  2. S. Noda, A. Chutinan and M. Imada, �??Trapping and emission of photons by a single defect in a photonic bandgap structure,�?? Nature (London) 407, 608-610 (2000). [CrossRef]
  3. S. Noda, K. Tomoda, N. Yamamoto and A. Chutinan, �??Full three-dimensional photonic bandgap crystals at near-infrared wavelength,�?? Science 298, 604-606 (2000). [CrossRef]
  4. O. Painter, R. K. Lee, A. Scherer, A. Yariv, J. D. O'Brien, P. D. Dapkus and I. Kim, �??Two-Dimensional Photonic Band-Gap Defect Mode Laser,�?? Science 284, 1819-1821 (1999). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. M. Imada, S. Noda, A. Chutinan, T. Tokuda, M. Murata and G. Sasaki, �??Coherent two-dimensional lasing action in surface-emitting laser with triangular-lattice photonic crystal structure,�?? Appl. Phys. Lett. 75, 316-318 (1999). [CrossRef]
  6. M. Meier, A. Mekis, A. Dodabalapur, A. Timko, R. E. Slusher, J. D. Joannopoulos and O. Nalamasu, �??Laser action from two-dimensional distributed feedback in photonic crystals,�?? Appl. Phys. Lett. 74, 7-9 (1999). [CrossRef]
  7. S. Noda, M. Yokoyama, M. Imada, A. Chutinan and M. Mochizuki, �??Polarization Mode Control of Two-Dimensional Photonic Crystal Laser by Unit Cell Structure Design,�?? Science 293, 1123-1125 (2001). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  8. D. Ohnishi, K. Sakai, M. Imada and S. Noda, �??Continuous wave operation of surface emitting twodimensional photonic crystal laser,�?? Electron. Lett. 39, 612-614 (2003). [CrossRef]
  9. J. D. Joannopoulos, R. D. Meade and J. N. Winn, Photonic Crystals (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1995).
  10. M. Fujita, R. Ushigome and T. Baba, �??Continuous wave lasing in GaInAsP microdisk injection laser with threshold current of 40 µA,�?? Electron. Lett. 36, 790-791 (2000). [CrossRef]
  11. W. Streifer, D. R. Scifres and R. D. Burnham, �??Coupling coefficient for distributed feedback single- and double-heterostructure diode lasers,�?? IEEE J. Quantum Electron. QE-11, 867�??873 (1975) [CrossRef]
  12. M. M. K. Liu, Principles and applications of optical communications (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1996).

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