Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: High Performance Quantum Cascade Lasers: Loss, Beam Stability, and Gain Engineering
Authors: Bouzi, Pierre
Advisors: Gmachl, Claire F.
Contributors: Electrical Engineering Department
Keywords: Beam Streering
Interface Roughness
Quantum Cascade Laser
Transparency Current
Transverse Mode Control
Waveguide Loss
Subjects: Electrical engineering
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Quantum Cascade (QC) lasers are semiconductor devices emitting in the mid-infrared (3-30 micron) and terahertz (30-300 micron) regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Since their first demonstration by Jerome Faist et. al. in 1994, they have evolved very quickly into high performance devices and given rise to many applications such as trace-gas sensing, medical diagnosis, free-space communication, and light detection and ranging (LIDAR). In this thesis, we investigate a further increase of the performance of QC devices and, through meticulous device modeling and characterizations, gain a deeper understanding of several of their unique characteristics, especially their carrier transport and lifetime, their characteristic temperature, their waveguide loss and modal gain, their leakage current, and their transverse mode profile. First, in our quest to achieve higher performance, we investigate the effect of growth asymmetries on device transport characteristics. This investigation stems from recent studies on the role of interface roughness on intersubband scattering and device performance. Through a symmetric active core design, we find that interface roughness and ionized impurity scattering induced by dopant migration play a significant role in carrier transport through the device. Understanding how interface roughness affects intersubband scattering, in turn, we engineer the gain in QC devices by placing monolayer barriers at specific locations within the device band structure. These strategically placed additional thin barrier layers introduce roughness scattering into the device active region, thereby selectively decreasing the lower laser state lifetime and increasing population inversion necessary for laser action. Preliminary measurement results from modified devices reveal a 50% decrease in the emission broadening compared to the control structures, which should lead to a two-fold increase in gain. A special class of so-called "strong coupling" QC lasers recently emerged with high optical power and high efficiency at cryogenic temperatures. However their performances decay rather rapidly with temperature in both pulsed and continuous wave modes. Through detailed measurements and analysis, we investigate several possible causes of this shortcoming and propose design modifications for temperature performance improvement. While the strong coupling devices are efficient and powerful, their performance often suffers from unintentional and potentially harmful beam steering at high power. Here, we identify the root of this pointing instability to be from non-linear interactions between multiple transverse modes. And, to resolve this issue, we employ focused ion beam (FIB) milling to etch small lateral constrictions on top of the devices and fill them with metal. This has the effect of greatly reducing the intensity of higher order transverse modes as they propagate through the cavity. A good grasp of the microscopic details involved in QC device operations will result in better lasers, with high beam quality. This, in turn, will enable new applications, such as the detection of SO2 isotopologues near 7.4 micron, which is of particular importance for the study of ultraviolet photolysis and the sulfur cycle on Venus.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Electrical Engineering

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Bouzi_princeton_0181D_11222.pdf5.97 MBAdobe PDFView/Download

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.