Electrically-controlled neuron-like spiking regimes in vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers at ultrafast rates

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We report experimentally on the electrically-controlled, tunable and repeatable neuron-like spiking regimes generated in an optically-injected vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) operating at the telecom wavelength of 1300 nm. These fast spiking dynamics (obtained at sub-nanosecond speed rates) demonstrate different behaviours observed in biological neurons such as thresholding, phasic and tonic spiking and spike rate and spike latency coding. The spiking regimes are activated in response to external stimuli (with controlled strengths and temporal duration) encoded in the bias current applied to a VCSEL subject to continuous wave (CW) optical injection (OI). These results reveal the prospect for fast (>7 orders of magnitude faster than neurons), novel, electrically-controlled spiking photonic modules for future neuromorphic computing platforms.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics
Early online date27 Feb 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Feb 2019


  • semiconductor lasers
  • vertical cavity surface emitting lasers
  • neuromorphic photonic systems
  • photonic spiking processing
  • photonic neurons

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