Tiny Room-Temperature Plasmon Lasers

Yvonne Carts-Powell

Researchers demonstrated a nanoscale plasmon laser that works at room temperature, in air.

Scatterings image(Top) Schematic of a plasmon laser showing a cadmium sulfide square atop a silver (Ag) substrate separated by a 5-nm gap of magnesium fluoride. (Bottom) Electron microscope image of the plasmon laser.

A nanoscale plasmon laser that works at room temperature, in air, was recently demonstrated by researchers in Xiang Zhang’s group at the University of California, Berkeley. In a tiny lasing cavity, the coherent plasmons travels in a tight gap of 5 nm in a smaller mode area than the best diffraction-limited spot from a conventional, focused laser beam (Nature Materials, doi: 10.1038/nmat2919). Previous semiconductor plasmon lasers had difficulty confining the light and operated at cryogenic temperatures in vacuum to reduce losses.

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