Quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) are a prominent semiconductor laser source operating in the mid-infrared and terahertz regimes. As is typical with semiconductor lasers, QCLs usually monolithically integrate the active gain material and the resonator. Hence, over nearly 30 years of QCL development, resonator geometries have developed alongside active region designs. Disk and ring geometries, in particular, have long been recognized for their unique attributes, which have, in turn, contributed to the demonstration of ultra-small cavities as well as surface emission from QCLs. In recent years, ring geometries have witnessed a resurgence as promising platforms for frequency comb and soliton generation as well as mid-infrared photonic integration. In this Perspective, we describe the attributes that make ring and disk QCLs unique by discussing key demonstrations. We present recent results, which indicate that these devices are poised to become building blocks of highly integrated, next-generation spectrometers operating in the mid-infrared. We discuss promising avenues for future research centered around monolithic ring and disk-type QCLs in applications ranging from gas sensing and spectroscopy to quantum optics and non-Hermitian photonics.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)