Abstract

A one-dimensional (1D) semiconductor photonic crystal (PC) structure with a terminal metal nanofilm, supporting propagation of long-range surface plasmons (LRSPs), is considered as an LRSP amplifier with current pumping. Current is injected to an active region through the metal nanofilm from one side and doped semiconductor layers from the other side. The propagation length of LRSP waves in such 1D PC structures reaches several millimeters, and therefore, a gain as low as 10cm1 is enough to compensate for attenuation and amplify LRSPs. A unique advantage of this structure is that the refractive index of LRSP wave is very close to unity. As a result, no return reflection to semiconductor occurs during the edge-emission of LRSP to air, and this enhances the light extraction efficiency from semiconductor light sources such as edge-emitting superluminescent diodes and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Optical feedback may be incorporated in this LRSP amplifier by grating deposition on the external side of the metal nanofilm, and LRSP lasing (i.e., long-range SPASER) may be realized without the use of complicated “etch-and-regrow” processes.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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