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Excitonic Lasing in Solution-Processed Subwavelength Nanosphere Assemblies

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journal contribution
posted on 03.02.2016, 00:00 by Kannatassen Appavoo, Xiaoze Liu, Vinod Menon, Matthew Y. Sfeir
Lasing in solution-processed nanomaterials has gained significant interest because of the potential for low-cost integrated photonic devices. Still, a key challenge is to utilize a comprehensive knowledge of the system’s spectral and temporal dynamics to design low-threshold lasing devices. Here, we demonstrate intrinsic lasing (without external cavity) at low-threshold in an ultrathin film of coupled, highly crystalline nanospheres with overall thickness on the order of ∼λ/4. The cavity-free geometry consists of ∼35 nm zinc oxide nanospheres that collectively localize the in-plane emissive light fields while minimizing scattering losses, resulting in excitonic lasing with fluence thresholds at least an order of magnitude lower than previous UV-blue random and quantum-dot lasers (<75 μJ/cm2). Fluence-dependent effects, as quantified by subpicosecond transient spectroscopy, highlight the role of phonon-mediated processes in excitonic lasing. Subpicosecond evolution of distinct lasing modes, together with three-dimensional electromagnetic simulations, indicate a random lasing process, which is in violation of the commonly cited criteria of strong scattering from individual nanostructures and an optically thick sample. Subsequently, an electron–hole plasma mechanism is observed with increased fluence. These results suggest that coupled nanostructures with high crystallinity, fabricated by low-cost solution-processing methods, can function as viable building blocks for high-performance optoelectronics devices.