Terahertz quantum cascade lasers operating up to ∼ 200 K with optimized oscillator strength and improved injection tunneling

Opt Express. 2012 Feb 13;20(4):3866-76. doi: 10.1364/OE.20.003866.


A new temperature performance record of 199.5 K for terahertz quantum cascade lasers is achieved by optimizing the lasing transition oscillator strength of the resonant phonon based three-well design. The optimum oscillator strength of 0.58 was found to be larger than that of the previous record (0.41) by Kumar et al. [Appl. Phys. Lett. 94, 131105 (2009)]. The choice of tunneling barrier thicknesses was determined with a simplified density matrix model, which converged towards higher tunneling coupling strengths than previously explored and nearly perfect alignment of the states across the injection and extraction barriers at the design electric field. At 8 K, the device showed a threshold current density of 1 kA/cm2, with a peak output power of ∼ 38 mW, and lasing frequency blue-shifting from 2.6 THz to 2.85 THz with increasing bias. The wavelength blue-shifted to 3.22 THz closer to the maximum operating temperature of 199.5 K, which corresponds to ∼ 1.28ħω/κB. The voltage dependence of laser frequency is related to the Stark effect of two intersubband transitions and is compared with the simulated gain spectra obtained by a Monte Carlo approach.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't