Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VCSELs) are tiny semiconductor lasers, structured as pillars of few-microns diameter on a chip, emitting light from their surface. They are now the most commonly used lasers, e.g. in cell phones, car sensors, data transmission in fiber optic networks. Though widely used, the miniscule size of VCSELs sets a stringent limit on the output power it can generate. For years, scientists have sought to enhance the power emitted by such devices through combining many tiny VCSELs and attempting to force them to act as a single coherent laser, with limited success. In a recent breakthrough, which appeared in Science magazine, we presented a new scheme to force very many VCSELs to lock together and act as a single coherent laser source. Our breakthrough, a direct outcome of our ERC AdG, employs a unique geometrical arrangement of VCSELs on the chip that forces the light to move in a specific path – a photonic topological insulator platform.
We propose to capitalize on the success and construct proof of concept technology that will bring this topological insulator VCSEL array a major step towards commercialization. We will design and construct a highly efficient VCSEL array on a novel topological platform optimized for reliability and scalability to large numbers of emitters, where all the emitters act as a single laser. The topological VCSEL array will be pumped electrically, operating at room temperature, and rely on quantum well optimized for emitting high power per emitter. We will define the topological insulator geometry with a reflectivity-modulation scheme that ensures reliability. Our proposed scheme, anticipated to be ready within 18 months, is scalable to a large number of VCSELs and will be a game changer in a plethora of technologies. It will pave the way to new applications that require orders of magnitude higher laser power while maintaining high coherence. It can revolutionize many applications we use in daily life.
Fields of science
- engineering and technologymaterials engineeringfibers
- natural sciencesphysical scienceselectromagnetism and electronicssemiconductivity
- engineering and technologyelectrical engineering, electronic engineering, information engineeringinformation engineeringtelecommunicationsmobile phones
- natural sciencesmathematicspure mathematicsgeometry
- natural sciencesphysical sciencesopticslaser physics
- HORIZON.1.1 - European Research Council (ERC) Main Programme