Novel semiconductor based light sources
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The research described in this thesis relates to the design, fabrication and testing of novel semiconductor-based light sources that have been designed for the generation of infra-red light. The thesis is formatted to account for two distinct components of my work, where the first part concerns sources producing coherent light by direct laser emission, notably, ultrashort-pulse quantum-dot lasers. These types of lasers continue to show considerable promise as efficient, compact sources of ultrashort pulses with durations of hundreds of femtoseconds, while giving rise to unique and interesting electronic properties such as low lasing thresholds through the quantum nature of their density of states. At the outset a study of the most relevant aspects of the lasing dynamics of an optically pumped quantum-dot laser is outlined. Pumping of the device with intense discrete optical pulses leads to output from multiple electronic states, each having a characteristic wavelength and temporal properties. I show that pulses produced by excited-state emission have shorter durations (24 ps) and arrive earlier in time than those due to transitions from the ground state, which themselves have durations of around 180 ps. Investigations are then made on two different mode-locked quantum-dot laser systems. One is an all-quantum-dot external-cavity laser that is mode locked using a quantum-dot SESAM device at a repetition frequency of 860 MHz with output power approaching 20 mW. This is followed by a study of a monolithic two-section quantum-dot laser that is mode locked stably in a wide temperature range of 20°C to 70°C. The excellent performance characteristics presented serve to demonstrate both the versatility of quantum-dot material as components in mode-locked laser systems and the temperature stability of such laser devices. The second part of the thesis relates to structures that are designed to take advantage of nonlinear frequency conversion in GaAs-based semiconductors. This material system possesses a nonlinear coefficient of ~170 pm/V and is transparent from around 0.9 μm through to 17 μm, making it attractive for the realisation of a new class of efficient, integrable, quasi-phase-matched, optical parametric oscillator devices. Initially, ion implantation is utilised as a vector to create a periodically-switched nonlinear ridge waveguided device. The observation is made that in the course of implantation the transmissive properties of the device are severely degraded. Unfortunately, the high losses incurred, which reached 250 dB/cm, could not be removed without also destroying the modulation in nonlinearity. During the course of this investigation, significant technological advances were made in the production of orientation-patterned GaAs structures. By recognising the elegance and potential of this new orientation-patterned (OP) methodology, a study of its implications and applicability in the context of my project is initiated.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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