Dual-wavelength internal-optically-pumped semiconductor laser diodes

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Dual-wavelength laser sources have various existing and potential applications in wavelength division multiplexing, differential techniques in spectroscopy for chemical sensing, multiple-wavelength interferometry, terahertz-wave generation, microelectromechanical systems, and microfluidic lab-on-chip systems.

Dual-wavelength laser sources have various existing and potential applications in wavelength division multiplexing, differential techniques in spectroscopy for chemical sensing, multiple-wavelength interferometry, terahertz-wave generation, microelectromechanical systems, and microfluidic lab-on-chip systems. In the drive for ever smaller and increasingly mobile electronic devices, dual-wavelength coherent light output from a single semiconductor laser diode would enable further advances and deployment of these technologies. The output of conventional laser diodes is however limited to a single wavelength band with a few subsequent lasing modes depending on the device design. This thesis investigates a novel semiconductor laser device design with a single cavity waveguide capable of dual-wavelength laser output with large spectral separation. The novel dual-wavelength semiconductor laser diode uses two shorter- and longer-wavelength active regions that have separate electron and hole quasi-Fermi energy levels and carrier distributions. The shorter-wavelength active region is based on electrical injection as in conventional laser diodes, and the longer-wavelength active region is then pumped optically by the internal optical field of the shorter-wavelength laser mode, resulting in stable dual-wavelength laser emission at two different wavelengths quite far apart. Different designs of the device are studied using a theoretical model developed in this work to describe the internal optical pumping scheme. The carrier transport and separation of the quasi-Fermi distributions are then modeled using a software package that solves Poisson's equation and the continuity equations to simulate semiconductor devices. Three different designs are grown using molecular beam epitaxy, and broad-area-contact laser diodes are processed using conventional methods. The modeling and experimental results of the first generation design indicate that the optical confinement factor of the longer-wavelength active region is a critical element in realizing dual-wavelength laser output. The modeling predicts lower laser thresholds for the second and third generation designs; however, the experimental results of the second and third generation devices confirm challenges related to the epitaxial growth of the structures in eventually demonstrating dual-wavelength laser output.