We provide a numerical study showing that a bottom reflector is indispensable to achieve unidirectional emission from a photonic-crystal (PhC) nanolaser. First, we study a PhC slab nanocavity suspended over a flat mirror formed by a dielectric or metal substrate. We find that the laser’s vertical emission can be enhanced by more than a factor of 6 compared with the device in the absence of the mirror. Then, we study the situation where the PhC nanocavity is in contact with a flat metal surface. The underlying metal substrate may serve as both an electrical current pathway and a heat sink, which would help achieve continuous-wave lasing operation at room temperature. The design of the laser emitting at 1.3 μm reveals that a relatively high cavity Q of over 1000 is achievable assuming room-temperature gold as a substrate. Furthermore, linearly polarized unidirectional vertical emission with the radiation efficiency over 50% can be achieved. Finally, we discuss how this hybrid design relates to various plasmonic cavities and propose a useful quantitative measure of the degree of the “plasmonic” character in a general metallic nanocavity.
© 2012 Optical Society of AmericaPDF Article