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Instability of semiconductor lasers due to optical feedback from distant reflectors

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2 Author(s)
Henry, C.H. ; AT&T Bell Labs, Murray Hill, NJ, USA ; Kazarinov, R.F.

We explain an istability occurring in continuously operating lasers due to moderate feedback from distant reflectors. This instability occurs despite the fact that the laser is stable with respect to small deviations from steady-state operation. It is the result of finite phase and carrier number changes caused by fluctuations in spontaneous emission. We predict several properties that agree with recent experimental observations: 1) the instability only occurs when the laser reaches a steady state that maximizes coherent feedback and laser light intensity; 2) the instability vanishes at strong feedback levels; and 3) at moderate feedback levels, the laser will be nearly stable at threshold, but unstable when operated well above threshold. The latter behavior results in a nonlinear "kinked" shape in the light versus current relation.

Published in:

Quantum Electronics, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:22 ,  Issue: 2 )