Elimination of Spatial Hole Burning in Microlasers for Stability and Efficiency Enhancement

Zhifeng Zhang, Pei Miao, Jingbo Sun, Stefano Longhi, Natalia M. Litchinitser, Liang Feng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Optical gain and loss are considered as a pair of feuds. It is widely believed that optical loss is the most detrimental factor in laser systems that decreases the laser efficiency. The hitherto approach is to minimize or even avoid any loss in designing any laser systems. From an opposite vantage point, however, we demonstrate that harnessing additional optical losses enables an energy-efficient microlaser with a robust single-mode lasing action even in the nonlinear regime above lasing threshold. This is due to elimination of the undesired spatial hole burning effect by tailoring the complex index modulations at an exceptional point (EP), thereby spatially maximizing the interaction of optical gain material with light field in a homogeneous fashion. Approximately 2× enhancement in the laser slope efficiency is observed, enabled by elimination of spatial hole burning. This result is expected to reposition a strategic role of optical losses in laser systems, advancing fundamental laser physics and promising novel technologies in energy-efficient photonic systems.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3016-3022
Number of pages7
JournalACS Photonics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 20 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-06-09
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OSR-2016-CRG5-2950-04
Acknowledgements: We acknowledge support from the Army Research Office (Grant No. W911NF-15-1-0152) and King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (Grant No. OSR-2016-CRG5-2950-04).
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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