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Laser optomechanics.

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Cavity optomechanics explores the interaction between optical field and mechanical motion. So far, this interaction has relied on the detuning between a passive optical resonator and an external pump laser. Here, we report a new scheme with mutual coupling between a mechanical oscillator supporting the mirror of a laser and the optical field generated by the laser itself. The optically active cavity greatly enhances the light-matter energy transfer. In this work, we use an electrically-pumped vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) with an ultra-light-weight (130 pg) high-contrast-grating (HCG) mirror, whose reflectivity spectrum is designed to facilitate strong optomechanical coupling, to demonstrate optomechanically-induced regenerative oscillation of the laser optomechanical cavity. We observe >550 nm self-oscillation amplitude of the micromechanical oscillator, two to three orders of magnitude larger than typical, and correspondingly a 23 nm laser wavelength sweep. In addition to its immediate applications as a high-speed wavelength-swept source, this scheme also offers a new approach for integrated on-chip sensors.

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