Table of Contents
Advances in Optical Technologies
Volume 2012, Article ID 268949, 15 pages
Review Article

Spin-Controlled Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Lasers

Photonics and Terahertz Technology, Ruhr University Bochum, 44780 Bochum, Germany

Received 29 April 2011; Revised 8 December 2011; Accepted 20 December 2011

Academic Editor: Rainer Michalzik

Copyright © 2012 Nils C. Gerhardt and Martin R. Hofmann. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We discuss the concept of spin-controlled vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) and analyze it with respect to potential room-temperature applications in spin-optoelectronic devices. Spin-optoelectronics is based on the optical selection rules as they provide a direct connection between the spin polarization of the recombining carriers and the circular polarization of the emitted photons. By means of optical excitation and numerical simulations we show that spin-controlled VCSELs promise to have superior properties to conventional devices such as threshold reduction, spin control of the emission, or even much faster dynamics. Possible concepts for room-temperature electrical spin injection without large external magnetic fields are summarized, and the progress on the field of purely electrically pumped spin-VCSELs is reviewed.