Single-mode laser by parity-time symmetry breaking

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Science  30 Oct 2014:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1258479

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Effective manipulation of cavity resonant modes is crucial for emission control in laser physics and applications. By exploiting the interplay between loss and gain based on the concept of parity-time symmetry, we demonstrate a parity-time symmetry breaking laser with the ability to control the resonant modes at will. In contrast to conventional ring cavity lasers with multiple competing modes, our parity-time microring laser exhibits intrinsic single-mode lasing regardless of the gain spectral bandwidth. Thresholdless parity-time symmetry breaking due to the rotationally symmetric structure leads to stable single-mode operation with the selective whispering gallery mode order. Exploration of parity-time symmetry in laser physics may open a door to next generation of optoelectronic devices for optical communications and computing.

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