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Controlling Disorder by Electric-Field-Directed Reconfiguration of Nanowires To Tune Random Lasing

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posted on 27.06.2018, 00:00 by Philip P. Donahue, Chenji Zhang, Nicholas Nye, Jennifer Miller, Cheng-Yu Wang, Rong Tang, Demetrios Christodoulides, Christine D. Keating, Zhiwen Liu
Top-down fabrication is commonly used to provide positioning control of optical structures; yet, it places stringent limitations on component materials, and oftentimes, dynamic reconfigurability is challenging to realize. Here, we present a reconfigurable nanoparticle platform that can integrate heterogeneous particle assembly of different shapes, sizes, and chemical compositions. We demonstrate dynamic control of disorder in this platform and use it to tune random laser emission characteristics for a suspension of titanium dioxide nanowires in a dye solution. Using an alternating current electric field, we control the nanowire orientation to dynamically engineer the collective scattering of the sample. Our theoretical model indicates that a change of up to 22% in scattering coefficient can be achieved for the experimentally determined nanowire length distribution upon alignment. Dependence of light confinement on anisotropic particle alignment provides a means to reversibly tune random laser characteristics; a nearly 20-fold increase in lasing intensity was observed with aligned particle orientation. We illustrate the generality of the approach by demonstrating enhanced lasing for aligned nanowires of other materials including gold, mixed gold/dielectric, and vanadium oxide.