28 April 2016 Birefringent vertical cavity surface-emitting lasers: toward high-speed spin-lasers
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Abstract
Spin-polarized vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (spin-VCSELs) provide novel opportunities to overcome several limitations of conventional, purely charge-based semiconductor lasers. Presumably the highest potential lies in the spin-VCSEL's capability for ultrafast spin and polarization dynamics which can be significantly faster than the intensity dynamics in conventional devices. By injecting spin-polarized carriers, these coupled spin-photon dynamics can be controlled and utilized for high-speed applications. While relaxation oscillations provide insights in the speed and direct modulation bandwidth of conventional devices, resonance oscillations in the circular polarization degree step in for the spin and polarization dynamics in spin-VCSELs. These polarization oscillations can be generated using pulsed spin injection and achieve much higher frequencies than the conventional intensity relaxation oscillations in these devices. Furthermore polarization oscillations can be switched on and off and it is possible to generate short polarization pulses, which may represent an information unit in polarization-based optical communication. The frequency of polarization oscillations is mainly determined by the birefringence-induced mode splitting between both orthogonal linearly polarized laser modes. Thus the polarization modulation bandwidth of spin-VCSELs can be increased by adding a high amount of birefringence to the cavity, for example by incorporating mechanical strain. Using this technique, we could demonstrate tunable polarization oscillations from 10 to 40 GHz in AlGaAs-based 850nm VCSELs recently. Furthermore a birefringence-induced mode splitting of more than 250 GHz could be demonstrated experimentally. Provided that this potential for ultrafast dynamics can be fully exploited, birefringent spin-VCSELs are ideal devices for fast short-haul optical interconnects. In this paper we review our recent progress on polarization dynamics of birefringent spin-VCSELs and investigate numerically how ultrafast polarization oscillations can be utilized for data communication using simulations based on the spin-flip model.
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Nils C. Gerhardt, Nils C. Gerhardt, Markus Lindemann, Markus Lindemann, Tobias Pusch, Tobias Pusch, Rainer Michalzik, Rainer Michalzik, Martin R. Hofmann, Martin R. Hofmann, "Birefringent vertical cavity surface-emitting lasers: toward high-speed spin-lasers", Proc. SPIE 9892, Semiconductor Lasers and Laser Dynamics VII, 989206 (28 April 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2229356; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2229356
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