Nanolasers have steadily gained interest in the past years thanks to considerable technological advances. Interest in very small lasers dates back to the early 1980’s and considerable effort was placed throughout the 1990’s on understanding the threshold and coherence properties of the so-called thresholdless laser. Little progress has been made on this front, mostly due to the scant amount of information coming from experiments, limited by the current detection technology. Very small-sized lasers, thanks to their extremely reduced cavity (and active medium) volumes, offer very low thresholds, but also an accompanying exiguous photon flux, which renders detection extremely challenging. Coupled to very fast internal constants, this requirement renders most kinds of measurements currently impossible: only statistical information, based on photon counting, has been gathered from nanolasers. The problem is aggravated from a fundamental understanding viewpoint, by the fact that most of these devices are optically pumped – i.e., they suffer from poor stability and reproducibility in operating parameters – and emit very short light pulses. This paper gives a brief overview of these problems and discusses the potential for using somewhat larger devices (mesolasers), for which full detection capabilities (barely) exist. As shown with the help of a new modeling approach compared to experimental results, lasers in the mesoscale display emerging properties which can be expected to exist in nanolasers, but are unknown at the macroscopic scale.
T. Wang, G. P. Puccioni, and G. L. Lippi, "How mesoscale lasers can answer fundamental questions related to nanolasers," Proc. SPIE 9884, Nanophotonics VI, 98840B (Presented at SPIE Photonics Europe: April 04, 2016; Published: 18 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2227302.
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