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Steady-state and transient characteristics of microcavity surface-emitting lasers with compressively strained quantum-well active regions

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2 Author(s)
Vurgaftman, I. ; Solid State Electron. Lab., Michigan Univ., Ann Arbor, MI, USA ; Singh, J.

In conventional semiconductor lasers, the dimensions of the optical cavity greatly exceed the photon wavelength, and the photon density of states forms a continuum since it is essentially that of a bulk system. On the other hand, in an ideal laser, one would like to have a single optical mode coincident with the maximum in the gain spectrum of the active medium. We show that substantial density-of-states quantization and enhancement of the fraction of photons spontaneously emitted into the lasing mode can be obtained by reducing the lateral width of the surface-emitting laser. For emission at λ=0.954 μm, the threshold current density can be drastically reduced by increasing the coupling factor to a few percent. For a cavity structure width of 0.3 μm, the threshold current density is 50 A/cm2, compared with 250 A/cm2 for the 0.6-μm cavity. At lower still lateral widths, the cavity loses its vertical character, and confinement of the lateral optical mode rapidly deteriorates. The large-signal response of microcavity lasers is slightly improved primarily due to elimination of mode competition in intrinsically single-mode microcavities, with relaxation times close to 1 ns. The enhancement of the spontaneous emission coupling factor results in an increase of the relaxation oscillation frequency and improvement in the standard small-signal response of microcavity lasers. For J=10Jth, the -3 dB modulation frequency exceeds 40 GHz. Since low threshold current densities may be achieved in microcavity lasers, the gains in small-signal performance are primarily extrinsic, i.e., higher modulation bandwidths ace accessible for the same injection

Published in:

Quantum Electronics, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:31 ,  Issue: 5 )