DOI: 10.1126/science.1258479 ISSN:

Single-mode laser by parity-time symmetry breaking

Liang Feng, Zi Jing Wong, Ren-Min Ma, Yuan Wang, Xiang Zhang
  • Multidisciplinary

Effective manipulation of cavity resonant modes is crucial for emission control in laser physics and applications. Using the concept of parity-time symmetry to exploit the interplay between gain and loss (i.e., light amplification and absorption), we demonstrate a parity-time symmetry–breaking laser with resonant modes that can be controlled 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 optoelectronic devices for optical communications and computing.

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