cathodoluminescence, SECOM, paper review • 2 min reading time

New paper by TU Delft sheds light on the optical properties of nanolasers


The researchers from the TU Delft, our close collaborator, have used cathodoluminescence lifetime measurements with the SECOM, to shed light on the optical properties of nanolasers.

The results are presented in the new paper Nanoscale Imaging of Light-Matter Coupling Inside Metal-Coated Cavities with a Pulsed Electron Beam, which was published in Nano Letters last month. The study holds value for the field of nanophotonics as it demonstrates that the position of the material within the nanolaser influences its efficiency.  

The authors explain that in the metallic subwavelength resonators under investigation, the variations in the local density of optical states, a key quantity in optics which determines how efficient matter can radiate,  is expected to be highly sensitive to the size of the resonator cavity. In their work they managed to assess spatially resolved emission decay rates within the cavity which are directly linked to the LDOS. Such a measurement is impossible to do with just an optical near and far-field techniques due to the diffraction-limited spatial resolving power and the optically opaque metal coating. To overcome this barrier, the researchers used a pulsed electron beam in an integrated light-electron microscope to excite the material in the nanolaser resonator.

By analyzing the structures with this method, the scientists found out that a difference of only 50 nanometers in the diameter of the laser can lead to large variations in the functioning of the lasers. According to Jacob P. Hoogenboom (Imaging Physics, a department of the Delft Faculty of Applied Sciences), this knowledge can help researchers to design and produce more efficient nanolaser [1].

To read the full article, please go here. If you would like to find out about other different ways that integrated light and electron microscope can help you with your research, make sure to check this blog post.


[1] Miltenburg O., van (2018, May 4). Nederlandse onderzoekers bieden inkijk in nanolasers voor fotonica. Retrieved from: