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We present gain and spontaneous emission measurements in In0.35Ga0.65As/GaAs multiple quantum well lasers. First, the gain is extracted from measured amplified spontaneous emission through a laser facet. Second, unamplified spontaneous emission is detected through the transparent GaAs‐substrate. Taking advantage of the fundamental relationship between gain and spontaneous emission, the separation of the electron and hole quasi‐Fermi levels, ΔEF, at various bias currents below laser threshold is accurately determined. Theoretically, ΔEF is calculated utilizing a simple two‐subband structure model. Fitting the theoretical predictions to the experimental data allows us to determine the threshold carrier density (nth=2.0×1018 cm-3), the in‐plane hole effective mass (mv1=0.21m0), and the amount of band gap shrinkage at threshold (ΔEg,th=33 meV). © 1996 American Institute of Physics.
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