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We review the family of optoelectronic devices whose performance is enhanced by placing the active device structure inside a Fabry‐Perot resonant microcavity. Such resonant cavity enhanced (RCE) devices benefit from the wavelength selectivity and the large increase of the resonant optical field introduced by the cavity. The increased optical field allows RCE photodetector structures to be thinner and therefore faster, while simultaneously increasing the quantum efficiency at the resonant wavelengths. Off‐resonance wavelengths are rejected by the cavity making RCE photodetectors promising for low crosstalk wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) applications. RCE optical modulators require fewer quantum wells so are capable of reduced voltage operation. The spontaneous emission spectrum of RCE light emitting diodes (LED) is drastically altered, improving the spectral purity and directivity. RCE devices are also highly suitable for integrated detectors and emitters with applications as in optical logic and in communication networks. This review attempts an encyclopedic overview of RCE photonic devices and systems. Considerable attention is devoted to the theoretical formulation and calculation of important RCE device parameters. Materials criteria are outlined and the suitability of common heteroepitaxial systems for RCE devices is examined. Arguments for the improved bandwidth in RCE detectors are presented intuitively, and results from advanced numerical simulations confirming the simple model are provided. An overview of experimental results on discrete RCE photodiodes, phototransistors, modulators, and LEDs is given. Work aimed at integrated RCE devices, optical logic and WDM systems is also covered. We conclude by speculating what remains to be accomplished to implement a practical RCE WDM system. © 1995 American Institute of Physics.
Journal of Applied Physics
Date of Publication:
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