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Optics Letters

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  • Vol. 23, Iss. 17 — Sep. 1, 1998
  • pp: 1366–1368

Long-wavelength (λ ≈ 8–11.5 µm) semiconductor lasers with waveguides based on surface plasmons

Carlo Sirtori, Claire Gmachl, Federico Capasso, Jérôme Faist,†, Deborah L. Sivco, Albert L. Hutchinson, and Alfred Y. Cho  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Letters, Vol. 23, Issue 17, pp. 1366-1368 (1998)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OL.23.001366


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Abstract

Laser waveguides based on surface plasmons at a metal–semiconductor interface have been demonstrated by use of quantum cascade (QC) lasers emitting in the 8–11.5-µm wavelength range. The guided modes are transverse magnetic polarized surface waves that propagate at the metal (Pd or Ti–Au)–semiconductor interface between the laser top contact and the active region without the necessity for waveguide cladding layers. The resultant structure has the advantages of a strong decrease in the total layer thickness and a higher confinement factor of the laser-active region compared with those of a conventional layered semiconductor waveguide, and strong coupling to the active material, which could be used in devices such as distributed-feedback lasers. These advantages have to be traded against the disadvantage of increased absorption losses. A peak output power exceeding 25 mW at 90 K and a maximum operating temperature of 150 K were measured for a QC laser with an emission wavelength λ ≈ 8 µm . At λ ≈ 11.5 µm the peak power levels are several milliwatts and the maximum operating temperature is 110 K.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(140.3070) Lasers and laser optics : Infrared and far-infrared lasers
(140.5960) Lasers and laser optics : Semiconductor lasers
(230.7370) Optical devices : Waveguides

Citation
Carlo Sirtori, Claire Gmachl, Federico Capasso, Jérôme Faist,†, Deborah L. Sivco, Albert L. Hutchinson, and Alfred Y. Cho, "Long-wavelength (λ ≈ 8–11.5 µm) semiconductor lasers with waveguides based on surface plasmons," Opt. Lett. 23, 1366-1368 (1998)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/ol/abstract.cfm?URI=ol-23-17-1366


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References

  1. P. Yeh, Optical Waves in Layered Media (Wiley, New York, 1988).
  2. C. Sirtori, J. Faist, F. Capasso, D. L. Sivco, A. L. Hutchinson, and A. Y. Cho, Appl. Phys. Lett. 69, 2810 (1996).
  3. C. Sirtori, J. Faist, F. Capasso, D. L. Sivco, A. L. Hutchinson, and A. Y. Cho, IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 33, 89 (1997).
  4. C. Sirtori, J. Faist, F. Capasso, D. L. Sivco, A. L. Hutchinson, and A. Y. Cho, Appl. Phys. Lett. 66, 3242 (1996).
  5. The idea of surface plasmons as guided modes for lasers is already present in the literature. Nevertheless, because of their strong attenuation coefficient, surface plasmons have been thought to be of no practical interest [see, e.g., P. Zory, Appl. Phys. Lett. 22, 125 (1973). Surface plasmons have been used to improve the performance of light-emitting diodes or as waveguide couplers [see, e.g., A. Köck, E. Gornik, M. Hauser, and W. Beinstingl, Appl. Phys. Lett. 57, 2327 (1990), A. Köck, A. Seeberg, M. Rosenberger, C. Gmachl, E. Gornik, C. Thanner, and L. Korte, Appl. Phys. Lett.APPLAB 63, 1164 (1993).
  6. C. Gmachl, A. Tredicucci, F. Capasso, A. L. Hutchinson, D. L. Sivco, J. N. Baillargeon, and A. Y. Cho, Appl. Phys. Lett. 72, 3130 (1998).
  7. This formula is valid only for Fabry–Perot cavities in which the dispersion of the medium between the mirrors is negligible.
  8. B. E. A. Saleh and M. C. Teich, Fundamentals of Photonics (Wiley, New York, 1991).
  9. A. Filipe, H.-J. Drouhin, G. Lampel, Y. Lassailly, J. Peretti, V. I. Safarov, and A. Schuhl, in Proceedings of the MRS Spring Meeting, San Francisco CA, 1997, J. Tobin, ed., Vol. 475 of MRS Symposia Proceedings (Materials Research Society, Pittsburgh, Pa., 1997), p. 75.

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