This chapter reviews important developments in semiconductor nanowire lasers since the first demonstration by Yang's group 10 years ago. We start with a brief overview of nanowire growth based on the vapor-liquid-solid mechanism. This is followed by a summary of major progress in lasing demonstration in nanowires of nitrides and of II-VI materials including ZnO, CdS, ZnS, and various ternary alloys. Progress in lasing of nanowires of narrow gap materials is also highlighted to illustrate the importance of infrared wavelengths. Special emphasis is placed on novel composition-graded ternary and quaternary alloy nanowires, which are made possible thanks to the insensitivity of nanowire growth to substrates. In addition, couplings of nanowires in various geometries, especially in nanowire loops, are presented to show their unique roles in reducing lasing threshold and in single-mode lasing. Electrical injection lasing is reviewed including discussions of existing issues and challenges. Finally, representative results from modeling and simulation are presented and followed by brief concluding remarks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-486
Number of pages32
JournalSemiconductors and Semimetals
StatePublished - 2012


  • Composition grading
  • Nanolasers
  • Nanophotonics
  • Nanowires
  • Semiconductor alloys
  • Semiconductors
  • Wide-gap semiconductors
  • Widely tunable lasers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Metals and Alloys


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