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  • Received: Oct. 3, 2018

    Accepted: Dec. 29, 2018

    Posted: Feb. 18, 2019

    Published Online: Feb. 18, 2019

    The Author Email: Ning Cun-Zheng (

    DOI: 10.1117/1.AP.1.1.014002

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    Cun-Zheng Ning. Semiconductor nanolasers and the size-energy-efficiency challenge: a review[J]. Advanced Photonics, 2019, 1(1): 014002

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Advanced Photonics, Vol. 1, Issue 1, 014002 (2019)

Semiconductor nanolasers and the size-energy-efficiency challenge: a review

Cun-Zheng Ning1,2,3,*

Author Affiliations

  • 1Tsinghua University, Department of Electronic Engineering, Beijing, China
  • 2Tsinghua University, International Center for Nano-Optoelectronics, Beijing, China
  • 3Arizona State University, School of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering, Tempe, Arizona, United States


Semiconductor lasers, an important subfield of semiconductor photonics, have fundamentally changed many aspects of our lives and enabled many technologies since their creation in the 1960s. As in other semiconductor-based fields, such as microelectronics, miniaturization has been a constant theme, with nanolasers being an important frontier of research over the last decade. We review the progress, existing issues, and future prospects of nanolasers, especially in relation to their potential application in chip-scale optical interconnects. One of the important challenges in this application is minimizing the size and energy consumption of nanolasers. We begin with the application background of this challenge and then compare basic features of various semiconductor lasers. We present existing issues with nanolasers and discuss potential solutions to meet the size and energy-efficiency challenge. Our discussions cover a broad range of miniaturized lasers, including plasmonic nanolasers and lasers with two-dimensional monolayer gain materials, with focus on near-infrared wavelengths.


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