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19 June 1995 Optoelectronic nanostructures: physics and technology
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Nanostructures based on III-V semiconductor materials have reached a status which enables basic physical studies on size effects in device and in nanostructures. The expected benefits of high modulation bandwidth, low laser threshold, and improved linewidth enhancement factor in DFB lasers, to say only a few, which are believed to be based mainly on the changed density of states (DOS) function in low dimensions might be counterbalanced by altered carrier energy relaxation and k-space filling in those structures. To investigate systematically size effects and device aspects, a continuous change of structure and active device size is needed from 2D to 0D dimensions. This requirement can be met by high resolution electron beam lithography in conjunction with low damage etch processes and epitaxial overgrowth. In this presentation we discuss the technology and design considerations of lasers with low dimensional active regions as well as DOS effects and device relevant carrier relaxation effects. The technology part will focus especially on low damage etch processes such as RIE- ECR. Nearly damage free structuring processes can be demonstrated. Based on this low damage dry etch process we obtained electrically pumped wire DFB lasers with relatively high output power (up to 6 mW) and operation temperature (60 degrees C). Time resolved optical ps-spectroscopy as well as high excitation spectroscopy on wire and dot nanostructures demonstrate strongly changed k-space filling and carrier relaxation mechanisms in low dimensions and represent a serious limitation of device speed. Results obtained from electrically pumped wire DFB lasers confirm the carrier relaxation and k-space filling effects in device structures which have been observed by optical pump experiments in nanostructures. Despite the band filling effects in low dimensional structures, the wire DFB lasers show clearly the expected feature of gain coupling and enhanced differential gain which might demonstrate the applicability of mesoscopic laser devices in common data communication approaches.
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