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Polarization properties of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers

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4 Author(s)
Martin-Regalado, J. ; Dept. de Fisica, Univ. de les Illes Balears, Palma de Mallorca, Spain ; Prati, F. ; San Miguel, M. ; Abraham, N.B.

Polarization-state selection, polarization-state dynamics, and polarization switching of a quantum-well vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) for the lowest order transverse spatial mode of the laser is explored using a recently developed model that incorporates material birefringence, the saturable dispersion characteristic of semiconductor physics, and the sensitivity of the transitions in the material to the vector character of the electric field amplitude. Three features contribute to the observed linearly polarized states of emission: linear birefringence, linear gain or loss anisotropies, and an intermediate relaxation rate for imbalances in the populations of the magnetic sublevels. In the absence of either birefringence or saturable dispersion, the gain or loss anisotropies dictate stability for the linearly polarized mode with higher net gain; hence, switching is only possible if the relative strength of the net gain for the two modes is reversed. When birefringence and saturable dispersion are both present, there are possibilities of bistability, monostability, and dynamical instability, including switching by destabilization of the mode with the higher gain to loss ratio in favor of the weaker mode. We compare our analytical and numerical results with recent experimental results on bistability and switchings caused by changes in the injection current and changes in the intensity of an injected optical signal

Published in:

Quantum Electronics, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:33 ,  Issue: 5 )

Date of Publication:

May 1997

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