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Photonic Crystal Bragg Lasers: Design, Fabrication, and Characterization


Zhu, Lin (2008) Photonic Crystal Bragg Lasers: Design, Fabrication, and Characterization. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/7MMN-7Q15.


On-chip, single mode semiconductor lasers are usually fabricated using conventional distributed feedback (DFB) structures. Due to the limitation of index guiding in the transverse direction, the width of these lasers has to be less than a few microns. Meanwhile, the laser output power is limited by catastrophic optical damage (COD) at the facets and thus large optical cavities are necessary for high power semiconductor lasers. Therefore, high power, single mode applications are challenging, due to the conflicting requirements for large modal volume (to prevent COD by reducing optical power density) and narrow width (to obtain the single mode operation). Increasing the width of single mode semiconductor lasers is fundamentally important for obtaining high spectral and spatial optical power densities.

This thesis reports on achieving the single mode operation of large area, edge emitting semiconductor lasers, using the photonic crystal Bragg structure (two dimensional distributed feedback structure). Both theoretical and experimental results are presented. Two dimensional coupled mode approaches and transfer matrix methods are developed to analyze and design the photonic crystal Bragg structure. It is shown that the single mode lasing can be obtained by satisfying both the transverse and longitudinal Bragg conditions and a single lobe, diffraction limited far field can be obtained by optimizing the coupling coefficient of the photonic crystal.

Electrically pumped, large-area (100 um x 500 um), single mode semiconductor photonic crystal Bragg lasers are experimentally demonstrated in pulsed and continuous wave conditions with single lobe, diffraction limited far fields. Two dimensional lasing wavelength tuning is demonstrated, which proves that the lasing mode is truly defined by the photonic crystal lattice. Furthermore, a wavelength tuning sensitivity about 80 times smaller than a conventional DFB laser is also achieved, allowing for more accurate control of the lasing wavelength.

Photonic crystal lasers based on effective index guiding are also studied. Single mode operation is achieved by combining the transverse confinement provided by an effective index guiding mechanism with the longitudinal mode selection provided by the Bragg reflection from the photonic crystal cladding. These devices represent an important first step toward using photonic crystals in a different way for the modal control of semiconductor lasers in planar optical circuits.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:modal control; photonic crystals; semiconductor lasers
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Electrical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Yariv, Amnon
Thesis Committee:
  • Yariv, Amnon (chair)
  • Scherer, Axel
  • Crosignani, Bruno
  • Yang, Changhuei
  • Vahala, Kerry J.
Defense Date:15 May 2008
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-05282008-162123
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:2215
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:02 Jun 2008
Last Modified:05 Feb 2020 01:04

Thesis Files

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