Plasmonic lasers generate coherent long-range or localized surface-plasmon-polaritons (SPPs), where the SPP mode exists at the interface of the metal (or a metallic nanoparticle) and a dielectric. Metallic-cavities sup- porting SPP modes are also utilized for terahertz quantum-cascade lasers (QCLs). Due to subwavelength apertures, plasmonic lasers have highly divergent radiation patterns. Recently, we theoretically and experimentally demonstrated a new technique for implementing distributed-feedback (DFB), which is termed as an antenna- feedback scheme, to establish a hybrid SPP mode in the surrounding medium of a plasmonic laser’s cavity with a large wavefront. This technique allows such lasers to radiate in narrow beams without requirement of any specific design considerations for phase-matching. Experimental demonstration is done for terahertz QCLs that show beam-divergence as small as 4-degrees. The antenna-feedback scheme has a characteristic feature in that refractive-index of the laser’s surrounding medium affects its radiative frequency in the same vein as refractive- index of the cavity. Hence, any perturbations in the refractive-index of the surrounding medium could lead to large modulation in the laser’s emission frequency. Along this line, we report ~57 GHz reversible, continuous, and mode-hop-free tuning of such QCLs operating at 78 K based on post-process deposition/etching of a dielectric on an already mounted QCL chip. This is the largest tuning range achieved for terahertz QCLs when operating much above the temperature of liquid-Helium. We review the aforementioned experimental results and discuss methods to increase optical power output from terahertz QCLs with antenna-feedback. Peak power output of ~13 mW is realized for a 3.3 THz QCL operating in a Stirling cooler at 54 K. A new dual-slit photonic structure based on antenna-feedback scheme is proposed to further improve output power as well as provide enhanced tunability.
Yuan Jin, Chongzhao Wu, John L. Reno, and Sushil Kumar, "Terahertz plasmonic lasers with narrow beams and large tunability," Proc. SPIE 10123, Novel In-Plane Semiconductor Lasers XVI, 1012312 (Presented at SPIE OPTO: February 01, 2017; Published: 20 February 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2253676.
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