A broad-surface-area vertical GaAs microcavity was operated as an adaptive holographic film. The cavity mirrors were transparent to high-energy (millijoules per square centimeter) hologram writing pulses at a wavelength of 730 nm that generated optically pumped gain gratings in a 1-µm-thick active layer of GaAs. The gain gratings were probed with a low-intensity (mW) tunable laser at wavelengths near the GaAs band edge in the high-reflectance bandwidth of the cavity Bragg mirrors. When the structure was designed with low mirror reflectances to operate below the lasing threshold, the cavity resonance bandwidth was sufficiently broad to permit homogeneous hologram readout over a large (several square millimeters) area. Diffraction efficiencies of approximately 10% were predicted and approached experimentally. These results represent a first step toward the realization of a holographic vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser structure.
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