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1.  
Quantum cascade lasers: from tool to product
Quantum cascade lasers: from tool to product
M. Razeghi, Q. Y. Lu, N. Bandyopadhyay, W. Zhou, D. Heydari, Y. Bai, and S. Slivken
Optics Express Vol. 23, Issue 7, pp. 8462-8475-- March 25, 2015
The quantum cascade laser (QCL) is an important laser source in the mid-infrared and terahertz frequency range. The past twenty years have witnessed its tremendous development in power, wall plug efficiency, frequency coverage and tunability, beam quality, as well as various applications based on QCL technology. Nowadays, QCLs can deliver high continuous wave power output up to 5.1 W at room temperature, and cover a wide frequency range from 3 to 300 μm by simply varying the material components. Broadband heterogeneous QCLs with a broad spectral range from 3 to 12 μm, wavelength agile QCLs based on monolithic sampled grating design, and on-chip beam QCL combiner are being developed for the next generation tunable mid-infrared source for spectroscopy and sensing. Terahertz sources based on nonlinear generation in QCLs further extend the accessible wavelength into the terahertz range. Room temperature continuous wave operation, high terahertz power up to 1.9 mW, and wide frequency tunability form 1 to 5 THz makes this type of device suitable for many applications in terahertz spectroscopy, imaging, and communication. reprint
 
2.  
High brightness angled cavity quantum cascade lasers
High brightness angled cavity quantum cascade lasers
D. Heydari, Y. Bai, N. Bandyopadhyay, S. Slivken, and M. Razeghi
Applied Physics Letters 106, 091105 (2015)-- March 6, 2015
A quantum cascade laser (QCL) with an output power of 203 W is demonstrated in pulsed mode at 283 K with an angled cavity. The device has a ridge width of 300 μm, a cavity length of 5.8 mm, and a tilt angle of 12°. The back facet is high reflection coated, and the front facet is anti-reflection coated. The emitting wavelength is around 4.8 μm. In distinct contrast to a straight cavity broad area QCL, the lateral far field is single lobed with a divergence angle of only 3°. An ultrahigh brightness value of 156 MW cm²·sr-1 is obtained, which marks the brightest QCL to date. reprint
 
3.  
High power frequency comb based on mid-infrared quantum cascade laser at λ ~9μm
High power frequency comb based on mid-infrared quantum cascade laser at λ ~9μm
Q. Y. Lu, M. Razeghi, S. Slivken, N. Bandyopadhyay, Y. Bai, W. J. Zhou, M. Chen, D. Heydari, A. Haddadi, R. McClintock, M. Amanti, and C. Sirtori
Appl. Phys. Lett. 106, 051105 (2015)-- February 2, 2015
We investigate a frequency comb source based on a mid-infrared quantum cascade laser at λ ∼9 μm with high power output. A broad flat-top gain with near-zero group velocity dispersion has been engineered using a dual-core active region structure. This favors the locking of the dispersed Fabry-Pérot modes into equally spaced frequency lines via four wave mixing. A current range with a narrow intermode beating linewidth of 3 kHz is identified with a fast detector and spectrum analyzer. This range corresponds to a broad spectral coverage of 65 cm−1 and a high power output of 180 mW for ∼176 comb modes. reprint
 
4.  
Widely tunable room temperature semiconductor terahertz source
Widely tunable room temperature semiconductor terahertz source
Q. Y. Lu, S. Slivken, N. Bandyopadhyay, Y. Bai, and M. Razeghi
Appl. Phys. Lett. 105, 201102 (2014)-- November 17, 2014
We present a widely tunable, monolithic terahertz source based on intracavity difference frequency generation within a mid-infrared quantum cascade laser at room temperature. A three-section ridge waveguide laser design with two sampled grating sections and a distributed-Bragg section is used to achieve the terahertz (THz) frequency tuning. Room temperature single mode THz emission with a wide tunable frequency range of 2.6–4.2 THz (∼47% of the central frequency) and THz power up to 0.1 mW is demonstrated, making such device an ideal candidate for THz spectroscopy and sensing. reprint
 
5.  
High power operation of λ ∼ 5.2–11 μm strain balanced quantum cascade lasers based on the same material composition
High power operation of λ ∼ 5.2–11 μm strain balanced quantum cascade lasers based on the same material composition
N. Bandyopadhyay, Y. Bai, S. Slivken, and M. Razeghi
Appl. Phys. Lett. 105, 071106 (2014)-- August 20, 2014
A technique based on composite quantum wells for design and growth of strain balanced Al0.63In0.37As/Ga0.35In0.65As/Ga0.47In0.53As quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), emitting in 5.2–11 μm wavelength range, is reported. The strained Al0.63In0.37As provides good electron confinement at all wavelengths, and strain balancing can be achieved through composite wells of Ga0.35In0.65As/Ga0.47In0.53As for different wavelength. The use of these fixed composition materials can avoid the need for frequent calibration of a MBE reactor to grow active regions with different strain levels for different wavelengths. Experimental results for QCLs emitting at 5.2, 6.7, 8.2, 9.1, and 11 μm exhibit good wall plug efficiencies and power across the whole wavelength range. It is shown that the emission wavelength can be predictably changed using the same design template. These lasers are also compatible with a heterogeneous broadband active region, consisting of multiple QCL cores, which can be produced in a single growth run. reprint
 
6.  
Monolithic terahertz source
Monolithic terahertz source
Q. Y. Lu, N. Bandyopadhyay, S. Slivken, Y. Bai and M. Razeghi
Nature Photonics | Research Highlights -- July 31, 2014
To date, the production of continuous-wave terahertz (THz) sources based on intracavity difference-frequency generation from mid-infrared quantum cascade lasers operating at room temperature has proved elusive. A critical problem is that, to achieve a large nonlinear susceptibility for frequency conversion, the active region of the quantum cascade laser requires high doping, which elevates the lasing threshold current density. Now, Quan-Yong Lu and colleagues from Northwestern University in the USA have overcome this problem and demonstrated a room-temperature continuous-wave THz source based on difference-frequency generation in quantum cascade lasers. They designed quantum-well structures based on In0.53Ga0.47As/In0.52Al0.48As material system for two mid-infrared wavelengths. The average doping in the active region was about 2.5 × 1016 cm−3. A buried ridge, buried composite distributed-feedback waveguide with the Čerenkov phase-matching scheme was used to reduce the waveguide loss and enhance heat dissipation. As a result, single-mode emission at 3.6 THz was observed at 293 K. The continuous-wave THz power reached 3 μW with a conversion efficiency of 0.44 mW W−2 from mid-infrared to THz waves. Using a similar device design, a THz peak power of 1.4 mW was achieved in pulse mode. reprint
 
7.  
Continuous operation of a monolithic semiconductor terahertz source at room temperature
Continuous operation of a monolithic semiconductor terahertz source at room temperature
Q. Y. Lu, N. Bandyopadhyay, S. Slivken, Y. Bai, and M. Razeghi
Appl. Phys. Lett. 104, 221105 (2014)-- June 3, 2014
We demonstrate room temperature continuous wave THz sources based on intracavity difference-frequency generation from mid-infrared quantum cascade lasers. Buried ridge, buried composite distributed-feedback waveguide with Čerenkov phase-matching scheme is used to reduce the waveguide loss and enhance the heat dissipation for continuous wave operation. Continuous emission at 3.6 THz with a side-mode suppression ratio of 20 dB and output power up to 3 μW are achieved, respectively. THz peak power is further scaled up to 1.4 mW in pulsed mode by increasing the mid-infrared power through increasing the active region doping and device area. reprint
 
8.  Extended electrical tuning of quantum cascade lasers with digital concatenated gratings
S. Slivken, N. Bandyopadhyay, Y. Bai, Q. Y. Lu, and M. Razeghi
Appl. Phys. Lett. 103, 231110 (2013)-- December 6, 2013
In this report, the sampled grating distributed feedback laser architecture is modified with digital concatenated gratings to partially compensate for the wavelength dependence of optical gain in a standard high efficiency quantum cascade laser core. This allows equalization of laser threshold over a wide wavelength range and demonstration of wide electrical tuning. With only two control currents, a full tuning range of 500 nm (236 cm−1) has been demonstrated. Emission is single mode, with a side mode suppression of >20 dB. reprint
 
9.  Room temperature compact THz sources based on quantum cascade laser technology
M. Razeghi; Q.Y. Lu; N. Bandyopadhyay; S. Slivken; Y. Bai
Proc. SPIE 8846, Terahertz Emitters, Receivers, and Applications IV, 884602 (September 24, 2013)-- November 24, 2013
We present the high performance THz sources based on intracavity difference-frequency generation from mid-infrared quantum cascade lasers. Room temperature single-mode operation in a wide THz spectral range of 1-4.6 THz is demonstrated from our Čerenkov phase-matched THz sources with dual-period DFB gratings. High THz power up to 215 μW at 3.5 THz is demonstrated via epi-down mounting of our THz device. The rapid development renders this type of THz sources promising local oscillators for many astronomical and medical applications. reprint
 
10.  
Recent advances in mid infrared (3-5 μm) quantum cascade lasers
Recent advances in mid infrared (3-5 μm) quantum cascade lasers
Manijeh Razeghi; Neelanjan Bandyopadhyay; Yanbo Bai; Quanyong Lu; Steven Slivken
Optical Materials Express, Vol. 3, Issue 11, pp. 1872-1884 (2013)-- November 2, 2013
Quantum cascade laser (QCL) is an important source of electromagnetic radiation in mid infrared region. Recent research in mid-IR QCLs has resulted in record high wallplug efficiency (WPE), high continuous wave (CW) output power, single mode operation and wide tunability. CW output power of 5.1 W with 21% WPE has been achieved at room temperature (RT). A record high WPE of 53% at 40K has been demonstrated. Operation wavelength of QCL in CW at RT has been extended to as short as 3μm. Very high peak power of 190 W has been obtained from a broad area QCL of ridge width 400μm. 2.4W RT, CW power output has been achieved from a distributed feedback (DFB) QCL. Wide tuning based on dual section sample grating DFB QCLs has resulted in individual tuning of 50cm-1 and 24 dB side mode suppression ratio with continuous wave power greater than 100 mW. reprint
 
11.  Room temperature terahertz quantum cascade laser sources with 215 μW output power through epilayer-down mounting
Q. Y. Lu, N. Bandyopadhyay, S. Slivken, Y. Bai, and M. Razeghi
Appl. Phys. Lett. 103, 011101 (2013)-- July 1, 2013
We report room temperature terahertz (THz) quantum cascade laser sources with high power based on difference frequency generation. The device is Čerenkov phase matched and spectrally purified with an integrated dual-period distributed-feedback grating. Symmetric current injection and epilayer-down mounting of the device onto a patterned submount are used to improve the electrical uniformity and heat removal, respectively. The epilayer-down mounting also allows for THz anti-reflective coating to enhance the THz outcoupling efficiency. Single mode emission at 3.5 THz with a side-mode suppression ratio and output power up to 30 dB and 215  μW are obtained, respectively. reprint
 
12.  Surface plasmon enhanced light emission from AlGaN-based ultraviolet light-emitting diodes grown on Si (111)
Chu-Young Cho, Yinjun Zhang, Erdem Cicek, Benjamin Rahnema, Yanbo Bai, Ryan McClintock, and Manijeh Razeghi
Appl. Phys. Lett. 102, 211110 (2013)-- May 31, 2013
We report on the development of surface plasmon (SP) enhanced AlGaN-based multiple quantum wells (MQWs) ultraviolet (UV) light-emitting diodes (LEDs) grown on silicon (111) substrates. In order to generate SP-coupling with the radiating dipoles in MQWs, an aluminum layer is selectively deposited in holes etched in the top p-AlGaN to p-GaN layers. After flip-chip bonding and substrate removal, an optical output power of ∼1.2 mW is achieved at an emission wavelength of 346 nm; the output power of these UV LEDs with Al layer is increased by 45% compared to that of conventional UV LEDs without Al layer. This enhancement can be attributed to an increase in the spontaneous emission rate and improved internal quantum efficiency via resonance coupling between excitons in MQWs and SPs in the aluminum layer. reprint
 
13.  Widely tuned room temperature terahertz quantum cascade laser sources
Q.Y. Lu, N. Bandyopadhyay, S. Slivken, Y. Bai and M. Razeghi
SPIE Proceedings, Vol. 8631, p. 863108-1, Photonics West, San Francisco, CA-- February 3, 2013
Room temperature THz quantum cascade laser sources with a broad spectral coverage based on intracavity difference frequency generation are demonstrated. Two mid-infrared active cores in the longer mid-IR wavelength range (9-11 micron)based on the single-phonon resonance scheme are designed with a second-order difference frequency nonlinearity specially optimized for the high operating fields that correspond to the highest mid-infrared output powers. A Čerenkov phase-matching scheme along with integrated dual-period distributed feedback gratings are used for efficient THz extraction and spectral purification. Single mode emissions from 1.0 to 4.6 THz with a side-mode suppression ratio and output power up to 40 dB and 32 μW are obtained, respectively. reprint
 
14.  Dual section quantum cascade lasers with wide electrical tuning
S. Slivken, N. Bandyopadhyay, S. Tsao, S. Nida, Y. Bai, Q.Y. Lu and M. Razeghi
SPIE Proceedings, Vol. 8631, p. 86310P-1, Photonics West, San Francisco, CA-- February 3, 2013
This paper describes our development efforts at Northwestern University regarding dual-section sampled grating distributed feedback (SGDFB) QCLs. These devices are the same size, but have much wider electrical tuning, than a traditional DFB laser. In this paper, I will show how we have dramatically extended the monolithic tuning range of high power quantum cascade lasers with high side mode suppression. This includes individual laser element tuning of up to 50 cm-1 and 24 dB average side mode suppression. These lasers are capable of room temperature continuous operation with high power (>100 mW) output. Additionally, we have demonstrated a broad spectral coverage of over 350 cm-1 on a single chip, which is equivalent to 87.5% of the gain bandwidth. The eventual goal is to realize an extended array of such laser modules in order to continuously cover a similar or broader spectral range, similar to an external cavity device without any external components. reprint
 
15.  Continuous wave, room temperature operation of λ ~ 3μm quantum cascade laser
N. Bandyopadhyay, Y. Bai, S. Tsao, S. Nida, S. Slivken and M. Razeghi
SPIE Proceedings, Vol. 8631, p. 86310M-1, Photonics West, San Francisco, CA-- February 3, 2013
Quantum Cascade Lasers (QCLs), operating in continuous wave (CW) at room temperature(RT) in 3-3.5 μm spectral range, which overlaps the spectral fingerprint region of many hydrocarbons, is essential in spectroscopic trace gas detection, environment monitoring, and pollution control. A 3 μm QCL, operating in CW at RT is demonstrated. This initial result makes it possible, for the most popular material system (AlInAs/GaInAs on InP) used in QCLs in mid-infrared and long-infrared, to cover the entire spectral range of mid-infrared atmospheric window (3-5 μm). In0.79Ga0.21As/In0.11Al0.89As strain balanced superlattice, which has a large conduction band offset, was grown. The strain was balanced with composite barriers (In0.11Al0.89As /In0.4Al0.6As) in the injector region, to eliminate the need of extremely high compressively strained GaInAs, whose pseudomorphic growth is very difficult. reprint
 
16.  High performance terahertz quantum cascade laser sources based on intracavity difference frequency generation
Q.Y. Lu, N. Bandyopadhyay, S. Slivken, Y. Bai and M. Razeghi
Optics Express, Vol. 21, No. 1, p. 968-- January 14, 2013
We demonstrate high power, room temperature, single-mode THz emissions based on intracavity difference frequency generation from mid-infrared quantum cascade lasers. Dual active regions both featuring giant nonlinear susceptibilities are used to enhance the THz power and conversion efficiency. The THz frequency is lithographically tuned by integrated dual-period distributed feedback gratings with different grating periods. Single mode emissions from 3.3 to 4.6 THz with side-mode suppression ratio and output power up to 40 dB and 65 µW are obtained, with a narrow linewidth of 5 GHz. reprint
 
17.  Near milliwatt power AlGaN-based ultraviolet light emitting diodes based on lateral epitaxial overgrowth of AlN on Si(111)
Y. Zhang, S. Gautier, C. Cho, E. Cicek, Z, Vashaei, R. McClintock, C. Bayram, Y. Bai and M. Razeghi
Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 102, No. 1, p. 011106-1-- January 7, 2013
We report on the growth, fabrication, and device characterization of AlGaN-based thin-film ultraviolet (UV) (λ ∼ 359 nm) light emitting diodes (LEDs). First, AlN/Si(111) template is patterned. Then, a fully coalesced 7-μm-thick lateral epitaxial overgrowth (LEO) of AlN layer is realized on patterned AlN/Si(111) template followed by UV LED epi-regrowth. Metalorganic chemical vapor deposition is employed to optimize LEO AlN and UV LED epitaxy. Back-emission UV LEDs are fabricated and flip-chip bonded to AlN heat sinks followed by Si(111) substrate removal. A peak pulsed power and slope efficiency of ∼0.6 mW and ∼1.3 μW/mA are demonstrated from these thin-film UV LEDs, respectively. For comparison, top-emission UV LEDs are fabricated and back-emission LEDs are shown to extract 50% more light than top-emission ones. reprint
 
18.  Widely tuned room temperature terahertz quantum cascade laser sources based on difference-frequency generation
Q.Y. Lu, N. Bandyopadhyay, S. Slivken, Y. Bai and M. Razeghi
Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 101, No. 25, p. 251121-1-- December 17, 2012
We demonstrate room temperature THz quantum cascade laser sources with a broad spectral coverage based on intracavity difference-frequency generation. Two mid-infrared active cores based on the single-phonon resonance scheme are designed with a THz nonlinearity specially optimized at the high operating fields that correspond to the highest mid-infrared output powers. A Čerenkov phase-matching scheme along with integrated dual-period distributed feedback gratings are used for efficient THz extraction and spectral purification. Single mode emissions from 1.0 to 4.6 THz with a side-mode suppression ratio and output power up to 40 dB and 32 μW are obtained, respectively. reprint
 
19.  Room temperature continuous wave operation of λ ~ 3-3.2 μm quantum cascade lasers
N. Bandyopadhyay, Y. Bai, S. Tsao, S. Nida, S. Slivken and M. Razeghi
Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 101, No. 24, p. 241110-1-- December 10, 2012
We demonstrate quantum cascade lasers emitting at wavelengths of 3–3.2 μm in the InP-based material system. The laser core consists of GaInAs/AlInAs using strain balancing technique. In room temperature pulsed mode operation, threshold current densities of 1.66 kA∕cm² and 1.97 kA∕cm², and characteristic temperatures (T0) of 108 K and 102 K, are obtained for the devices emitting at 3.2 μm and 3 μm, respectively. Room temperature continuous wave operation is achieved at both wavelengths. reprint
 
20.  Angled cavity broad area quantum cascade lasers
Y. Bai, S. Slivken, Q.Y. Lu, N. Bandyopadhyay, and M. Razeghi
Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 100, Np. 8, p. 081106-1-- August 20, 2012
Angled cavity broad area quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) are investigated with surface gratingbased distributed feedback (DFB) mechanisms. It is found that an angled cavity incorporating a one dimensional DFB with grating lines parallel to the laser facet offers the simplest solution for single mode and diffraction limited emission in the facet normal direction. A room temperature single mode QCL with the highest output power for wavelengths longer than 10 micron is demonstrated. This structure could be applied to a wide range of laser structures for power scaling along with spectral and spatial beam control. reprint
 
21.  Sampled grating, distributed feedback quantum cascade lasers with broad tunability and continuous operation at room temperature
S. Slivken, N. Bandyopadhyay, S. Tsao, S. Nida, Y. Bai, Q.Y. Lu and M. Razeghi
Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 100, No. 26, p. 261112-1-- June 25, 2012
A dual-section, single-mode quantum cascade laser is demonstrated in continuous wave at room temperature with up to 114 nm (50 cm−1) of tuning near a wavelength of 4.8 μm. Power above 100 mW is demonstrated, with a mean side mode suppression ratio of 24 dB. By changing the grating period, 270 nm (120 cm−1) of gap-free electrical tuning for a single gain medium has been realized. reprint
 
22.  High power, continuous wave, room temperature operation of λ ~ 3.4 μm and λ ~ 3.55 μm InP-based quantum cascade lasers
N. Bandyopadhyay, S. Slivken, Y. Bai and M. Razeghi
Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 100, No. 21, p. 212104-1-- May 21, 2012
We report two highly strain-balanced InP-based AlInAs/GaInAs quantum cascade lasers emitting near 3.39 and 3.56 . A pulsed threshold current density of only 1.1 kA/cm² has been achieved at room temperature for both lasers with characteristic temperatures (T0) of 166  K and 152  K, respectively. The slope efficiency is also relatively temperature insensitive with characteristic temperatures (T1) of 116 K and 191  K, respectively. Continuous wave powers of 504 mW and 576 mW are obtained at room temperature, respectively. This was accomplished without buried ridge processing. reprint
 
23.  Substrate emission quantum cascade ring lasers with room temperature continuous wave operation
Y. Bai, S. Tsao, N. Bandyopadhyay, S. Slivken, Q.Y. Lu, and M. Razeghi
SPIE Proceedings, Vol. 8268, p. 82680N-- January 22, 2012
We demonstrate room temperature, continuous wave operation of quantum cascade ring lasers around 5 μm with single mode operation up to 0.51 W output power. Single mode operation persists up to 0.4 W. Light is coupled out of the ring cavity through the substrate with a second order distributed feedback grating. The substrate emission scheme allows for epilayer-down bonding, which leads to room temperature continuous wave operation. The far field analysis indicates that the device operates in a high order mode. reprint
 
24.  High power, continuous wave, quantum cascade ring laser
Y. Bai, S. Tsao, N. Bandyopadhyay, S. Slivken, Q.Y. Lu, D. Caffey, M. Pushkarsky, T. Day and M. Razeghi
Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 99, No. 26, p. 261104-1-- December 26, 2011
We demonstrate a quantum cascade ring laser with high power room temperature continuous wave operation. A second order distributed feedback grating buried inside the waveguide provides both in-plane feedback and vertical power outcoupling. Total output power reaches 0.51 W at an emission wavelength around 4.85 μm. Single mode operation persists up to 0.4 W. The far field analysis indicates that the device operates in a high order mode. The magnetic and electric components of the ring-shaped lasing beam are in radial and azimuthal directions, respectively. reprint
 
25.  Room temperature single-mode terahertz sources based on intracavity difference-frequency generation in quantum cascade lasers
Q.Y. Lu, N. Bandyopadhyay, S. Slivken, Y. Bai and M. Razeghi
Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 99, Issue 13, p. 131106-1-- September 26, 2011
We demonstrate room temperature single-mode THz emission at 4 THz based on intracavity difference-frequency generation from mid-infrared dual-wavelength quantum cascade lasers. An integrated dual-period distributed feedback grating is defined on the cap layer to purify both mid-infrared pumping wavelengths and in turn the THz spectra. Single mode operation of the pumping wavelengths results in a single-mode THz operation with a narrow linewidth of 6.6 GHz. A maximum THz power of 8.5 μW with a power conversion efficiency of 10 μW/W² is obtained at room temperature. reprint
 

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