The importance of electron temperature in silicon-based terahertz quantum cascade lasers

Lever, L.; Valavanis, A.; Evans, C. A.; Ikonic, Z.; Kelsall, R. W.
September 2009
Applied Physics Letters;9/28/2009, Vol. 95 Issue 13, p131103
Academic Journal
Quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) are compact sources of coherent terahertz radiation. Although all existing QCLs use III-V compound semiconductors, silicon-based devices are highly desirable due to the high thermal conductivity and mature processing technology. We use a semiclassical rate-equation model to show that Ge/SiGe THz QCL active region gain is strongly enhanced by reducing the electron temperature. We present a bound-to-continuum QCL design employing L-valley intersubband transitions, using high Ge fraction barriers to reduce interface roughness scattering, and a low electric field to reduce the electron temperature. We predict a gain of ∼50 cm-1, which exceeds the calculated waveguide losses.


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