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Title: New developments in GaAs-based quantum cascade lasers
Author: Atkins, Chris
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis presents a study of the design and optimisation of gallium-arsenide-based quantum cascade lasers (QCLs). Traditionally, the optical and electrical performance of these devices has been inferior in comparison to QCLs that are based on the InP material system, due mainly to the limitations imposed on performance by the intrinsic material properties of GaAs. In an attempt to improve the performance of GaAs QCLs, indium-gallium-phosphide and indium-aluminium-phosphide have been used as the waveguide cladding layers in several new QCL designs. These two materials combine low waveguide losses with a high confinement of the laser optical mode, and are easily integrated into typical GaAs QCL structures. Devices containing a double-phonon relaxation active region design have been combined with an InAlP waveguide, with the result being that the lowest threshold currents yet observed for a GaAs-based QCL have been observed - 2.1kA/cm2 and 4.0kA/cm2 at 240K and 300K respectively. Accompanying these low threshold currents however, were large operating voltages approaching 30V at room-temperature and 60V at 80K. These voltages were responsible for a high rate of device failure due to overheating. In an attempt to address this situation, two transitional layer (TL) designs were applied at the QCL GaAs/InAlP interfaces in order to aid electron flow at these points. The addition of the TLs resulted in a lowering of operating voltage by ~12V and 30V at 300K and 240K respectively, however threshold current density increased to 5.1kA/cm2 and 2.7kA/cm2 at the same temperatures. By utilising a high-reflectivity coating and epi-layer down bonding process, a QCL comprising an InGaP waveguide and double-phonon active region was observed to operate in continuous-wave mode up to a temperature of 80K, with an optical output power of 26mW.
Supervisor: Cockburn, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available