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Quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) are important infrared light sources with numerous applications in defense and civilian fields. Low optical absorption in the atmospheric windows spanning from 3.5 to 4.8 μm and 8 to 12 μm has given rise to a number of applications. While QCL performance in the 5- to 7-μm spectral region has improved significantly, culminating in continuouswave (CW) room-temperature wallplug efficiency (WPE) exceeding 20% and optical power of 5 W at ~5 μm, progress in laser performance in the technologically important 3.5- to 4.8-μm and 8- to 12-μm spectral regions has significantly slowed down.
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