Single gallium nitride nanowire lasers

Justin C. Johnson, Heon Jin Choi, Kelly P. Knutsen, Richard D. Schaller, Peidong Yang, Richard J. Saykally

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1131 Citations (Scopus)


There is much current interest in the optical properties of semiconductor nanowires, because the cylindrical geometry and strong two-dimensional confinement of electrons, holes and photons make them particularly attractive as potential building blocks for nanoscale electronics and optoelectronic devices, including lasers and nonlinear optical frequency converters. Gallium nitride (GaN) is a wide-bandgap semiconductor of much practical interest, because it is widely used in electrically pumped ultraviolet-blue light-emitting diodes, lasers and photodetectors. Recent progress in microfabrication techniques has allowed stimulated emission to be observed from a variety of GaN microstructures and films. Here we report the observation of ultraviolet-blue laser action in single monocrystalline GaN nanowires, using both near-field and far-field optical microscopy to characterize the waveguide mode structure and spectral properties of the radiation at room temperature. The optical microscope images reveal radiation patterns that correlate with axial Fabry-Perot modes (Q ≈ 103) observed in the laser spectrum, which result from the cylindrical cavity geometry of the monocrystalline nanowires. A redshift that is strongly dependent on pump power (45 meV μJ cm -2) supports the idea that the electron-hole plasma mechanism is primarily responsible for the gain at room temperature. This study is a considerable advance towards the realization of electron-injected, nanowire-based ultraviolet-blue coherent light sources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-110
Number of pages5
JournalNature materials
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
J.C.J., K.P.K., R.D.S. and R.J.S. are supported by the Physical Sciences Division of the National Science Foundation. H.C. and P.Y. are supported by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, 3M Corporation, Beckman Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the University of California, Berkeley. P.Y. is an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow. Work at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory was supported by the Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Materials Science of the US Department of Energy. We thank the National Center for Electron Microscopy for the use of their facilities. Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to R.J.S or P.Y.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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