Lasing action in strongly coupled plasmonic nanocavity arrays

Wei Zhou, Montacer Dridi, Jae Yong Suh, Chul Hoon Kim, Dick T. Co, Michael R. Wasielewski, George C. Schatz, Teri W. Odom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

683 Scopus citations


Periodic dielectric structures are typically integrated with a planar waveguide to create photonic band-edge modes for feedback in one-dimensional distributed feedback lasers and two-dimensional photonic-crystal lasers. Although photonic band-edge lasers are widely used in optics and biological applications, drawbacks include low modulation speeds and diffraction-limited mode confinement. In contrast, plasmonic nanolasers can support ultrafast dynamics and ultrasmall mode volumes. However, because of the large momentum mismatch between their nanolocalized lasing fields and free-space light, they suffer from large radiative losses and lack beam directionality. Here, we report lasing action from band-edge lattice plasmons in arrays of plasmonic nanocavities in a homogeneous dielectric environment. We find that optically pumped, two-dimensional arrays of plasmonic Au or Ag nanoparticles surrounded by an organic gain medium show directional beam emission (divergence angle <1.5and linewidth <1.3 nm) characteristic of lasing action in the far-field, and behave as arrays of nanoscale light sources in the near-field. Using a semi-quantum electromagnetic approach to simulate the active optical responses, we show that lasing is achieved through stimulated energy transfer from the gain to the band-edge lattice plasmons in the deep subwavelength vicinity of the individual nanoparticles. Using femtosecond-transient absorption spectroscopy, we verified that lattice plasmons in plasmonic nanoparticle arrays could reach a 200-fold enhancement of the spontaneous emission rate of the dye because of their large local density of optical states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)506-511
Number of pages6
JournalNature nanotechnology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Bioengineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


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