OSA's Digital Library

Journal of the Optical Society of America B

Journal of the Optical Society of America B


  • Editor: Henry M. Van Driel
  • Vol. 24, Iss. 8 — Aug. 1, 2007
  • pp: 1995–2005

Quantum theory of semiconductor lasers in the photon number representation

Hassan S. Ashour, Michael Sokol, Leno M. Pedrotti, and Perry R. Rice  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA B, Vol. 24, Issue 8, pp. 1995-2005 (2007)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (688 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



A model of microcavity semiconductor lasers in which both the cavity field and the gain medium are quantized is presented. The equation of motion for the elements of the reduced density matrix for the field in the photon number representation is developed and numerically solved to find the steady-state photon number distribution and the laser linewidth for a variety of operating conditions. For typical semiconductor microcavity operating conditions, the intensity noise is smaller and the laser linewidth is larger for lasers with a larger fraction of spontaneous emission into the cavity mode. However, for very-low-loss microcavity lasers, if the rate of spontaneous emission into the cavity mode exceeds the loss rate, the laser can appear to turn on at pump rates for which the gain medium is not inverted. In this anamolous regime, the laser intensity noise increases with an increased fraction of spontaneous emission into the cavity mode.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(140.2020) Lasers and laser optics : Diode lasers
(270.2500) Quantum optics : Fluctuations, relaxations, and noise
(270.3430) Quantum optics : Laser theory

ToC Category:
Quantum Optics

Original Manuscript: August 22, 2006
Revised Manuscript: March 12, 2007
Manuscript Accepted: April 12, 2007
Published: July 19, 2007

Hassan S. Ashour, Michael Sokol, Leno M. Pedrotti, and Perry R. Rice, "Quantum theory of semiconductor lasers in the photon number representation," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 24, 1995-2005 (2007)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. M. O. Scully and W. E. Lamb, Jr., "Quantum theory of an optical maser. I. General theory," Phys. Rev. 159, 208-226 (1967). [CrossRef]
  2. M. O. Scully and M. S. Zubairy, Quantum Optics (Cambridge U. Press, 1997).
  3. P. Meystre and M. Sargent III, Elements of Quantum Optics (Springer-Verlag, 1991).
  4. W. W. Chow, S. W. Koch, and M. Sargent III, Semiconductor Laser Physics (Springer, 1993).
  5. G. P. Agrawal and N. K. Dutta, Long-Wavelength Semiconductors (Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1986).
  6. H. Haug and H. Haken, "Theory of noise in semiconductor laser emission," Z. Phys. 204, 262-275 (1967). [CrossRef]
  7. H. Haug, "Quantum-mechanical rate equations for semiconductor lasers," Phys. Rev. 184, 338-248 (1969). [CrossRef]
  8. H. Haug and S. W. Koch, "Semiconductor laser theory with many-body effects," Phys. Rev. A 39, 1887-1898 (1989). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  9. P. R. Rice and H. J. Carmichael, "Photon statistics of a cavity-QED laser: a comment on the laser-phase-transition analogy," Phys. Rev. A 50, 4318-4329 (1994). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  10. C. W. Gardiner and A. Eschmann, "Master-equation theory of semiconductor lasers," Phys. Rev. A 51, 4982-4995 (1995). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  11. Y. Yamamoto, "AM and FM quantum noise in semiconductor lasers--Part I: Theoretical analysis," IEEE J. Quantum Electron. QE-19, 34-36 (1983). [CrossRef]
  12. A. Imamoglu and Y. Yamamoto, "Turnstile device for heralded single photons: Coulomb blockade of electron and hole tunneling in quantum confined p-i-n heterojunctions," Phys. Rev. Lett. 72, 210-213 (1994). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  13. R. Jin, D. Boggavarapu, M. Sargent III, P. Meystre, H. A. Gibbs, and G. Khitrova, "Photon-number correlations near the threshold of microcavity lasers in the weak-coupling regime," Phys. Rev. A 49, 4038-4042 (1994). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  14. L. M. Pedrotti, M. Sokol, and P. R. Rice, "Linewidth of four-level microcavity lasers," Phys. Rev. A 59, 2295-2301 (1999). [CrossRef]
  15. U. Mohideen, R. E. Slusher, F. Jahnke, and S. W. Koch, "Semiconductor microcavity linewidths," Phys. Rev. Lett. 73, 1785-1788 (1994). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  16. R. E. Slusher, A. F. J. Levi, U. Mohideen, S. L. McCall, S. J. Pearton, and R. A. Logan, "Threshold characteristics of semiconductor microdisk lasers," Appl. Phys. Lett. 63, 1310-1312 (1993). [CrossRef]
  17. R. E. Slusher (Lucent Technologies, Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, N.J. 07974, USA) and U. Mohideen (Department of Physics, University of California Riverside, Riverside, Calif. 92521, USA) (personal communication, 1995).

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited