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Scalable single-mode surface emitting laser via open-Dirac singularities
Nature  (IF69.504),  Pub Date : 2022-06-29, DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-05021-4
Rushin Contractor, Wanwoo Noh, Walid Redjem, Wayesh Qarony, Emma Martin, Scott Dhuey, Adam Schwartzberg, Boubacar Kanté

Single-aperture cavities are a key component of lasers, instrumental for the amplification and emission of a single light mode. However, the appearance of high-order transverse modes as cavities size increases has frustrated efforts to scale up cavities whilst preserving single-mode operation since the invention of the laser six decades ago1-8. A suitable physical mechanism that allows single-mode lasing irrespective of the cavity size – a “scale-invariant” cavity or laser – has not been identified yet. Here, we propose and demonstrate experimentally that open-Dirac electromagnetic cavities with linear dispersion – which in our devices are realized by a truncated photonic crystal arranged in a hexagonal pattern – exhibit unconventional scaling of losses in reciprocal space, leading to single-mode lasing that is maintained as the cavity is scaled up in size. The physical origin of this phenomenon lies in the convergence of the complex part of the free spectral range in open-Dirac cavities towards a constant governed by the loss rate of distinct Bloch band, while for common cavities it converges to zero as the size grows, leading to inevitable multi-mode emission. An unconventional flat envelope fundamental mode locks all unit-cells in the cavity in phase, leading to single-mode lasing. We name such sources Berkeley Surface Emitting Lasers (BerkSELs) and demonstrate that their far-field corresponds to a topological singularity of charge two, in agreement with our theory. Open-Dirac cavities unlock new avenues for light-matter interaction and cavity quantum electrodynamics.