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Theory and Experiments on Unstable-Resonator and Quantum Well GaAs/GaAlAs Lasers


Mittelstein, Michael (1989) Theory and Experiments on Unstable-Resonator and Quantum Well GaAs/GaAlAs Lasers. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/p3k2-pp58.


Structures of GaAs/GaA1As lasers and their performance characteristics are investigated experimentally and theoretically. A self-consistent model for the longitudinal gain and intensity distribution in injection lasers is introduced. The model is applied to unstable-resonator semiconductor lasers to evaluate their lateral losses and quantum efficiencies, and an advanced design is presented. Symmetric, unstable-resonator semiconductor lasers are manufactured and a virtual source point inside the laser more than an order of magnitude narrower than the width of the near field is demonstrated. Young's double-slit experiment is adopted for lateral coherence measurements in semiconductor lasers. A high degree of lateral coherence is found, indicating operation of the unstable-resonator lasers in predominantly one mode.

In the pulsed measurements on broad-area, single-quantum-well, graded-index wave-guide, separate-confinement-heterostructure lasers, very high quantum efficiencies, very low losses, and very high output powers are observed. The devices are found to exhibit beam divergence narrower than two times the diffraction limit in single-lobed, far-field patterns. Using these single-quantum-well lasers, the "second quantized-state lasing" is found experimentally, and a simple model is developed to explain it.

A general model for the gain spectrum and required current density of quantum-well lasers is introduced. The eigenfunctions and eigenvalues of the charge carriers and optical mode of the transverse structure are used to derive the gain spectrum and current density from the Einstein coefficients. The two-dimensional density of states for the charge carriers and the effective width of the optical mode (not the width of the quantum well) are identified as the dominant parameters. The model includes a new heuristic approach to account for the observed smeared onset of subbands, eliminating convolution calculations.

Applications of the model for a typical structure, a conventional double heterostructure and an advanced structure are presented. Structures providing two- and three-dimensional confinement are discussed and are directly compared to conventional and quantum-well structures in terms of laser parameters. The length scale of confinement structures for the optical mode is found to be two orders of magnitude larger than the corresponding length scale for carrier confinement, implying that the single-quantum-well laser is the most adapted structure.

The gain-flattened condition that single-quantum-well lasers exhibit near the onset of the second quantized-state lasing is introduced. An external grating-tuned resonator is analyzed, and the coupled cavity formalism is employed to examine conditions for continuous tuning. Predictions for tuning ranges of conventional, double-heterostructure and single-quantum-well lasers are made, and the superiority of the latter on account of pump current density is clarified. Experimentally, broadband tunability exceeding a 10% spectral tuning range of an uncoated quantum-well laser in a simple grating-tuned resonator is demonstrated.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Applied physics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Yariv, Amnon (advisor)
  • Bellan, Paul Murray (co-advisor)
Thesis Committee:
  • Rutledge, David B. (chair)
  • Culick, Fred E. C.
  • Tombrello, Thomas A.
  • Vahala, Kerry J.
  • Yariv, Amnon
  • Bellan, Paul Murray
Defense Date:3 March 1989
Additional Information:Title in 1989 commencement program -- Theory and Experiments on Unstable Resonator and Quantum Well GaAs/GaAlAs Lasers -- differs from title in thesis file (PDF).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
German National Scholarship FundUNSPECIFIED
Newport Research AwardUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-02082007-125156
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:553
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:02 Mar 2007
Last Modified:31 Aug 2021 00:55

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