A Caltech Library Service

Investigation and Application of Microscale Semiconductor Lasers and Cavities


Perahia, Raviv (2009) Investigation and Application of Microscale Semiconductor Lasers and Cavities. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/TVHA-6D03.


As optical, active, semiconductor devices are miniaturized to the wavelength scale, many applications of cavities, lasers, and detectors become possible. In order to make such devices useful in real-world applications one must first understand how these devices behave when they are reduced in size and what technological barriers must be overcome.

In this dissertation several thrusts are presented toward the investigation and application of microscale active semiconductor cavities. Work is divided into four thrusts: fluid sensing based on surface sensitive quantum cascade lasers, hybridization of surface plasmon modes and waveguide modes as well as lasing in near-infrared subwavelength microdisks, quantum dot based cavities for strong coupling, and nascent work on optomechanical tuning of active cavities. In all four thrusts design and fabrication techniques are used to overcome challenges and capitalize on reduced scale.

Progress in fabrication, design, and testing of surface sensitive quantum cascade lasers is presented. Work focuses on increasing surface sensitivity by modifying the metal contacts on top of active material originally intended to be used with a surface plasmon waveguide. An experiment where isopropyl and ethyl alcohol is differentiated based on laser behavior is carried out. Work toward integration of semiconductor lasers with fluidic delivery systems is explored.

Work then turns to the intimate and advantageous inclusion of metal into subwavelength strained quantum well microdisk lasers in the near-infrared. Optical and thermal characteristics are simulated. Hybridization of surface plasmon mode and waveguide whispering-gallery modes is simulated and experimentally verified. Lasing behavior of such small devices is investigated.

In parallel, work toward improving the probability of achieving a strongly coupled quantum dot microdisk cavity system is carried out. Improvements in fabrication techniques and potential metal integration makes this project a natural extension of the subwavelength microdisk laser project.

Finally, a new project is discussed where the above projects are combined with investigation of optomechanical systems currently ongoing in our lab. Work toward the combination of active optical cavities with optomechanical devices will lead to wide band wavelength tuning functionality.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:laser; microcavity; microdisk; optics; semiconductor; surface plasmon
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Painter, Oskar J.
Thesis Committee:
  • Scherer, Axel (chair)
  • Yang, Changhuei
  • Vahala, Kerry J.
  • Painter, Oskar J.
Defense Date:21 May 2009
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-06052009-131714
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:2466
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:10 Jun 2009
Last Modified:26 Nov 2019 19:13

Thesis Files

PDF (thesis_Raviv_Perahia_single_sided.pdf) - Final Version
See Usage Policy.

PDF (thesis_Raviv_Perahia_two_sided.pdf) - Final Version
See Usage Policy.


Repository Staff Only: item control page