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OSA Science & Applications of Nanolasers Incubator

7 - 9 September, 2016
Washington, DC, USA
Hosted By:
Ren-Min Ma, Peking University, China
Rupert Oulton, Imperial College London, United Kingdom
Volker Sorger, George Washington University, United States
The science of semiconductor lasers with wavelength scale dimensions or less has emerged as a prominent research area in the past 15 years. There are many diverse approaches to achieving the necessary control over light needed to make semiconductor nanolasers, e.g. nanowires, photonic crystals, and metals; however, the communities involved typically have very little overlap. They are nonetheless united by the goal to make the smallest light emitting devices possible. Originally motivated by the promise of reducing thresholds and eliciting ultrafast responses, as the size of lasers has reduced below the vacuum wavelength electrical injection has become significantly harder. Even in cases where the requisite electronic and optical control has been satisfied simultaneously, parasitic loss and heat dissipation have emerged as new limitations.
The goal of this Incubator is to forge connections between the diverse communities working on different approaches to nanolasers in order to identify fundamental goals and limits for nanolaser research, identify potential applications for nanolasers and identify a roadmap for nanolaser research that can bring the science closer to commercialization.
The incubator will be divided into two parts. The first part will review the original motivations for laser miniaturization and the current start of the art in nanolasers. The second part will revisit the original motivations and development from part 1 in the context of emerging dialogues in the literature concerning the application of small lasers. Key questions that will be explored throughout the program include:

  • Are there defineable and defendable benefits of constructing ever-­‐smaller lasers and light sources?

  • What are fundamental scaling laws of light sources?

  • Exactly how small should a lasers device be given technological desired functionality?

  • If lasers should be smaller than VCSELs, which are the smallest commercially relevant laser available, then what will be the applications that could be enabled by these new class of light sources?

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