Epitaxy of GaAs-based long-wavelength vertical cavity lasers
Abstract: Vertical cavity lasers (VCLs) are of great interest aslow-cost, high-performance light sources for fiber-opticcommunication systems. They have a number of advantages overconventional edge-emitting lasers, including low powerconsumption, efficient fiber coupling and wafer scalemanufacturing/testing. For high-speed data transmission overdistances up to a few hundred meters, VCLs (or arrays of VCLs)operating at 850 nm wavelength is today the technology ofchoice. While multimode fibers are successfully used in theseapplications, higher transmission bandwidth and longerdistances require single-mode fibres and longer wavelengths(1.3-1.55 µm). However, long-wavelength VCLs are as yetnot commercially available since no traditional materialssystem offers the required combination of bothhigh-index-contrast distributed Bragg reflectors (DBRs) andhigh-gain active regions. Earlier work on long-wavelength VCLshas therefore focused on hybrid techniques, such as waferfusion between InP-based QWs and AlGaAs DBRs, but more recentlythe main interest in this field has shifted towardsall-epitaxial GaAs-based devices employing novel 1.3-µmactive materials. Among these, strained GaInNAs/GaAs QWs aregenerally considered one of the most promising approaches andhave received a great deal of interest.The aim of this thesis is to investigate monolithicGaAs-based long-wavelength (>1.2 µm) VCLs with InGaAsor GaInNAs QW active regions. Laser structures - or partsthereof - have been grown by metal-organic vapor phase epitaxy(MOVPE) and characterized by various techniques, such ashigh-resolution x-ray diffraction (XRD), photoluminescence(PL), atomic force microscopy, and secondary ion massspectroscopy (SIMS). High accuracy reflectance measurementsrevealed that n-type doping is much more detrimental to theperformance of AlGaAs DBRs than previously anticipated. Asystematic investigation was also made of the deleteriouseffects of buried Al-containing layers, such as AlGaAs DBRs, onthe optical and structural properties of subsequently grownGaInNAs QWs. Both these problems, with their potential bearingon VCL fabrication, are reduced by lowering the DBR growthtemperature.Record-long emission wavelength InGaAs VCLs were fabricatedusing an extensive gain-cavity detuning. The cavity resonancecondition just below 1270 nm wavelength occurs at the farlong-wavelength side of the gain curve. Still, the gain is highenough to yield threshold currents in the low mA-regime and amaximum output power exceeding 1 mW, depending on devicediameter. Direct modulation experiments were performed on1260-nm devices at 10 Gb/s in a back-to-back configuration withopen, symmetric eye diagrams, indicating their potential foruse in high-speed transmission applications. These devices arein compliance with the wavelength requirements of emerging10-Gb/s Ethernet and SONET OC-192 standards and may turn out tobe a viable alternative to GaInNAs VCLs.Keywords:GaInNAs, InGaAs, quantum wells, MOVPE, MOCVD,vertical cavity laser, VCSEL, long-wavelength, epitaxy, XRD,DBR
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