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A unipolar semiconductor laser emitting in the mid-infrared spectral region is demonstrated. The laser scheme relies on a simple three-level system in GaAs/AlGaAs asymmetric coupled quantum wells. Population inversion between excited states is achieved by optical pumping of electrons from the ground state with a CO2 laser. Long-wavelength (≈15.5 μm) laser emission is demonstrated. The laser is operated in the pulsed regime up to a temperature of 110 K and with an output peak power ≈0.4 W at 77 K. Unipolar quantum well semiconductor lasers based on this principle are capable of covering the long wavelength mid-infrared spectral region above 12 μm. © 1997 American Institute of Physics.
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