2 May 2014 Spin-controlled ultrafast vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers
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Spin-controlled semiconductor lasers are highly attractive spintronic devices providing characteristics superior to their conventional purely charge-based counterparts. In particular, spin-controlled vertical-cavity surface emitting lasers (spin-VCSELs) promise to offer lower thresholds, enhanced emission intensity, spin amplification, full polarization control, chirp control and ultrafast dynamics. Most important, the ability to control and modulate the polarization state of the laser emission with extraordinarily high frequencies is very attractive for many applications like broadband optical communication and ultrafast optical switches. We present a novel concept for ultrafast spin-VCSELs which has the potential to overcome the conventional speed limitation for directly modulated lasers by the relaxation oscillation frequency and to reach modulation frequencies significantly above 100 GHz. The concept is based on the coupled spin-photon dynamics in birefringent micro-cavity lasers. By injecting spin-polarized carriers in the VCSEL, oscillations of the coupled spin-photon system can by induced which lead to oscillations of the polarization state of the laser emission. These oscillations are decoupled from conventional relaxation oscillations of the carrier-photon system and can be much faster than these. Utilizing these polarization oscillations is thus a very promising approach to develop ultrafast spin-VCSELs for high speed optical data communication in the near future. Different aspects of the spin and polarization dynamics, its connection to birefringence and bistability in the cavity, controlled switching of the oscillations, and the limitations of this novel approach will be analysed theoretically and experimentally for spin-polarized VCSELs at room temperature.
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Henning Höpfner, Henning Höpfner, Markus Lindemann, Markus Lindemann, Nils C. Gerhardt, Nils C. Gerhardt, Martin R. Hofmann, Martin R. Hofmann, "Spin-controlled ultrafast vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers", Proc. SPIE 9134, Semiconductor Lasers and Laser Dynamics VI, 913408 (2 May 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2049684; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2049684

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