Controlling spontaneous emission and threshold-less laser oscillation with optical microcavities

H. Yokoyama, K. Nishi, T. Anan, Y. Nambu, S. D. Brorson, E. P. Ippen, M. Suzuki

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95 Citations (Scopus)


We describe the alteration of spontaneous emission of materials in optical microcavities having dimensions on the order of the emitted wavelength. Particular attention is paid to one-dimensional optical confinement structures with pairs of planar reflectors (planar microcavities). The presence of the cavity causes great modifications in the emission spectrum and spatial emission intensity distribution accompanied by changes in the spontaneous emission lifetime. Experimental results are shown for planar microcavities containing GaAs quantum wells or organic dye-embedded Langmuir-Brodgett films as light emitting layers. Also discussed are the laser oscillation properties of microcavities. A remarkable increase in the spontaneous emission coupling into the laser oscillation mode is expected in microcavity lasers. A rate equation analysis shows that increasing the coupling of spontaneous emission into the cavity mode causes the disappearance of the lasing threshold in the input-output curve. Experimentally verification is presented using planar optical microcavities confining an organic dye solution. The coupling ratio of spontaneous emission into a laser mode increases to be as large as 0.2 for a cavity having a half wavelength distance between a pair of mirrors. At this point, the threshold becomes quite fuzzy. Differences between the spontaneous emission dominant regime and the stimulated emission dominant regime are examined with emission spectra and emission lifetime analyses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S245-S272
JournalOptical and Quantum Electronics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1992 Feb
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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