Ultra-Stable High-Performance Single Nanolasers

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Electronic and Electrical Engineering

Abstract

2015 was designated by the United Nations as the 'International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies'. World-wide activities during the year highlighted the importance of photonics in industry, health care and education. Those activities - strongly supported by the UK - has led strong credence to the claim that photonics is the key technology of the 21st century. During the 20th century the UK delivered key advances in photonics technology including the development of low-loss optical fibres, pioneering work in semiconductor laser development and the invention of optical fibre amplifiers. That inventiveness is the foundation of optical fibre communications whose maturity has enabled year-on-year growth in data traffic including web-based products and services. The internet already consumes in excess of 5% of the world's electricity and is projected to consume 10% of that capacity very soon. As it is expected that growth in internet traffic will continue it is apparent that the demands placed on electricity sources could become unsustainable. Moreover, due to delays in decisions on the provision of new electricity generation capacity as well as vacillations in policy in respect of renewable energy sources, the UK is particularly vulnerable to excessive demands on electricity: the safety margin for generation has in the past few years declined from 15% in 2011/12 to a predicted 5% in 2015/16. The UK therefore has a particular need to advance technologies which will relieve demands on electricity usage. Photonics is such a technology and, specifically, the adoption of optical switching within compact photonic integrated circuits (PICs) will effect a dramatic reduction in electricity consumption: 40% of the internet electricity consumption is due to core switching operations.
One of the key requirements to achieving PICs is to miniaturize photonic components down to the nanometer scale, for instance, nanolasers. In this case, the bottleneck that must be overcome is due to the diffraction limit of light, namely, ~l/2n limiting the minimal dimensions of a laser cavity, where l and n are the free space wavelength and refractive index, respectively. It is also crucial to minimise energy consumption while using optical sources such as lasers for such compact PICs, and thus a laser with a very low threshold is essential. The use of surface plasmon polarition (SPP) modes excited at the metal dielectric interface offers a means for device size reduction down to the sub-wavelength range. The project will combine the expertise in simulation, design and testing of advanced nanolasers at Bangor, and the established epitaxial growth and advanced nanofabrication of GaN based optoelectronics at Sheffield to develop the first GaN based electrically-pumped single nanolasers. Building on analysis of stand-alone single nanolasers, it will be demonstrated that optimized nanolasers can be configured such that they remain immune to instabilities when subject to external optical influences. Such stability makes nanolasers ideal candidates for incorporation in complex photonic integrated circuits. This project will contribute to developing future photonic technologies which underpins the operation of the internet, Smart Phone and Tablet usage, satellite communications/GPS, Direct Broadcast TV, energy efficient solid state lighting, efficient solar power generation, consumer electronics, high capacity communications networks and data storage, advanced healthcare and ground-breaking biotechnology.
 
Description Establish conductivity selective etching process for the fabrication of lattice-mismatched DBR, one of the key steps towards the fabrication of nanolaser. So far, we have demonstrated a DBR with a high reflective of >99% and a wide stop-band. In combination with another new idea, we are aiming to develop a new kind of laser in collaboration with another UK university who is working on a design. This could be used for quantum information/computer area.
Exploitation Route This results will be prepared in manuscripts for publications, which is expected to draw attention from scientific community, and then hopefully will be used worldwide. Further grant application will be planed.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

 
Description The relevant processes for the fabrication of lattice-mismatched DBRs can be widely used for different purposes, such as enhancing extraction efficiency of emitters. In combination with a new idea which is related to surface plasmon effect, a new type of laser can be made in collaboration with another UK university team who is working on a laser design. Potentially, a new grant application can be made.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Cultural

 
Title LED arrays 
Description A new method for the growth of micro-LED arrays 
IP Reference GB1816455.8 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2018
Licensed Commercial In Confidence
Impact Major impact on developing III-nitride based microLEDs for micro-display, Ultra-fast visible light communications, AR/VR
 
Description 2019 Industrial open day 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact It aims to establish new collaboration with industry and further strengthen existing collaboration with industry, and to support the UK advanced manufacturing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description LJ: UKNC Annual Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The presentation reported out latest results on significantly improving crystal quality of our nonpolar GaN on sapphire. This generic approach can be used for a wide range of applications from photonics to electronics and also in a wide spectral region including UV devices. It is expected to draw strong attention from industry and academic areas
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description TW: 2017 industrial event/open day 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The event has attracted more than 10 CEOs from the UK industrial companies. All the new technological breakthroughs developed through the projects have been presented. It is expected that it will make major impact on industry.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description YNH: UKNC Annual Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The presentation reported our latest report on the fabrication of GaN based nanoporous structures. This results can be extended to many other areas in addition to solar hydrogen generation, such as nanolasers with a DBR structure in order to enhance optical confinement factor. It is expected to draw strong attention from industry.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description YPG: 2018 UKNC winter Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The presentations reported a new prototype of white LEDs using our patterned non-polar GaN. It is expected that this type of white LEDs will draw attention from both industry and academia.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description YZ: 12th international conference on nitride semiconductors 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The presentation reported on our new progress on developing semipolar GaN on patterned substrates. This approach is generic, and can be used for a wide range of applications including LEDs and LDs and also nanodevices such as nanolasers. It is expected to draw strong attention from industry.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017