Experimental analysis of novel telecom source materials and devices

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Harnedy, Patrick
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University College Cork
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Incumbent telecommunication lasers emitting at 1.5 µm are fabricated on InP substrates and consist of multiple strained quantum well layers of the ternary alloy InGaAs, with barriers of InGaAsP or InGaAlAs. These lasers have been seen to exhibit very strong temperature dependence of the threshold current. This strong temperature dependence leads to a situation where external cooling equipment is required to stabilise the optical output power of these lasers. This results in a significant increase in the energy bill associated with telecommunications, as well as a large increase in equipment budgets. If the exponential growth trend of end user bandwidth demand associated with the internet continues, these inefficient lasers could see the telecommunications industry become the dominant consumer of world energy. For this reason there is strong interest in developing new, much more efficient telecommunication lasers. One avenue being investigated is the development of quantum dot lasers on InP. The confinement experienced in these low dimensional structures leads to a strong perturbation of the density of states at the band edge, and has been predicted to result in reduced temperature dependence of the threshold current in these devices. The growth of these structures is difficult due to the large lattice mismatch between InP and InAs; however, recently quantum dots elongated in one dimension, known as quantum dashes, have been demonstrated. Chapter 4 of this thesis provides an experimental analysis of one of these quantum dash lasers emitting at 1.5 µm along with a numerical investigation of threshold dynamics present in this device. Another avenue being explored to increase the efficiency of telecommunications lasers is bandstructure engineering of GaAs-based materials to emit at 1.5 µm. The cause of the strong temperature sensitivity in InP-based quantum well structures has been shown to be CHSH Auger recombination. Calculations have shown and experiments have verified that the addition of bismuth to GaAs strongly reduces the bandgap and increases the spin orbit splitting energy of the alloy GaAs1−xBix. This leads to a bandstructure condition at x = 10 % where not only is 1.5 µm emission achieved on GaAs-based material, but also the bandstructure of the material can naturally suppress the costly CHSH Auger recombination which plagues InP-based quantum-well-based material. It has been predicted that telecommunications lasers based on this material system should operate in the absence of external cooling equipment and offer electrical and optical benefits over the incumbent lasers. Chapters 5, 6, and 7 provide a first analysis of several aspects of this material system relevant to the development of high bismuth content telecommunication lasers.
GaBiAs , Temperature dependent analysis , Cryostat , Semiconductor laser
Harnedy, P. 2016. Experimental analysis of novel telecom source materials and devices. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.