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Single-mode laser by parity-time symmetry breaking

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

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Abstract

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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