Vertical-external-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VECSELs), also called semiconductor disk lasers (SDLs), have developed strongly during the last two decades. Additionally, the range of available wavelengths has been drastically extended during this time, especially when second harmonic generation is taken into account. Nevertheless, these systems run into limits when the refractive indices of the materials used for the necessary distributed Bragg reflectors (DBRs) approach too much. This leads to a much higher number of necessary layer pairs, which increases the structure thickness and makes growth of such DBRs at least extremely difficult. Another limit occurs when the band gap of the gain material used in the VECSEL approaches too close to the band-gap in the used DBR materials. Absorption losses in the DBR are the consequence. Additionally, the performance of VECSELs in general suffers from heat incorporation into the active region caused by the excess energy of the pump photons together with the low thermal conductivity of the substrate and the included DBR.
The recently shown membrane external-cavity surface-emitting laser (MECSEL) concept opens the potential to overcome all the above named challenges as only an isolated active region membrane, sandwiched between intra-cavity heat spreaders is used as gain material. Furthermore, active region membranes in the GaInP/AlGaInP material system aiming on the yellow and red-orange spectral region where direct laser emission has not been realized yet, grown on high-index substrates, open the possibility to deliver sufficient gain realizing a MECSEL.
Lasers operating in the transmission window of tissue at wavelengths between 700 and 800 nm are needed in numerous medical and biomedical applications, including photodynamic therapy and fluorescence microscopy. However, the performance of diode lasers in this spectral range is limited by the lack of appropriate compound semiconductors. Here, we review our recent research on 750 nm VECSELs. Two approaches to reaching the 750 nm wavelength will be discussed. The first approach relies on intra-cavity frequency doubling a wafer-fused 1500 nm VECSEL. The VECSEL gain chip comprises a GaAs-based DBR and an InP-based gain section, which allows for optical pumping with low-cost commercial diodes at 980 nm. With this scheme we have achieved watt-level output powers and tuning of the laser wavelength over a 40 nm band at around 750 nm. The second approach is direct emission at 750 nm using the AlGaAs/GaAs material system. In this approach visible wavelengths are required for optical pumping. However, the consequent higher costs compared to pumping at 980 nm are mitigated by the more compact laser setup and prospects of doubling the frequency to the ultraviolet range.
Optical cooling of semiconductors has recently been demonstrated both for optically pumped CdS nanobelts and for electrically injected GaInAsSb LEDs at very low powers. To enable cooling at larger power and to understand and overcome the main obstacles in optical cooling of conventional semiconductor structures, we study thermophotonic (TPX) heat transport in cavity coupled light emitters. Our structures consist of a double heterojunction (DHJ) LED with a GaAs active layer and a corresponding DHJ or a p-n-homojunction photodiode, enclosed within a single semiconductor cavity to eliminate the light extraction challenges. Our presently studied double diode structures (DDS) use GaInP barriers around the GaAs active layer instead of the AlGaAs barriers used in our previous structures. We characterize our updated double diode structures by four point probe IV- measurements and measure how the material modifications affect the recombination parameters and coupling quantum efficiencies in the structures. The coupling quantum efficiency of the new devices with InGaP barrier layers is found to be approximately 10 % larger than for the structures with AlGaAs barriers at the point of maximum efficiency.
We report on a semiconductor disk laser emitting 1.5 W of output power at the wavelength of 745 nm via intracavity frequency doubling. The high power level and the < 40 nm tuning range make the laser a promising tool for medical treatments that rely on photosensitizing agents and biomarkers in the transmission window of tissue between 700 and 800 nm. The InP-based gain structure of the laser was wafer-fused with a GaAs-based bottom mirror and thermally managed with an intracavity diamond heat spreader. The structure was pumped with commercial low-cost 980 nm laser diode modules. Laser emission at 1490 nm was frequency-doubled with a bismuth borate crystal that was cut for type I critical phase matching. At the maximum output power, we achieved an optical-to-optical efficiency of 8.3% with beam quality parameter M2 below 1.5. The laser wavelength could be tuned with an intracavity birefringent plate from 720 to 764 nm.
We report on green (550–560 nm) electroluminescence (EL) from (Al0.5Ga0.5)0.5In0.5P–(Al0.8Ga0.2)0.5In0.5P double p–i–n heterostructures with monolayer–scale tensile strained GaP insertions in the cladding layers and light–emitting diodes (LEDs) based thereupon. The structures are grown side–by–side on high–index and (100) GaAs substrates by molecular beam epitaxy. Cross–sectional transmission electron microscopy studies indicate that GaP insertions are flat, thus the GaP–barrier substrate orientation–dependent heights should match the predictions of the flat model. At moderate current densities (~500 A/cm2) the EL intensity of the structures is comparable for all substrate orientations. Opposite to the (100)–grown strictures, the EL spectra of (211) and (311)–grown devices are shifted towards shorter wavelengths (~550 nm at room temperature). At high current densities (>1 kA/cm2) a much higher EL intensity is achieved for the devices grown on high–index substrates. The integrated intensity of (311)–grown structures gradually saturates at current densities above 4 kA/cm2, whereas no saturation is revealed for (211)–grown structures up to the current densities above 14 kA/cm2. We attribute the effect to the surface orientation–dependent engineering of the GaP band structure which prevents the escape of the nonequilibrium electrons into the indirect conduction band minima of the p– doped (Al0.8Ga0.2)0.5In0.5P cladding layers.
Over the last years we have continuously improved the performance of 1300 nm band VECSELs with wafer fused gain mirrors in the intra-cavity diamond and the flip-chip heat dissipation configurations. In this work we present recent results for gain mirrors that implement both heat-dissipation schemes applied to the same fused gain mirror structure. We demonstrate record high output powers of 7.1 W in the intra-cavity diamond heat-spreader configuration and 6.5 W in the flip-chip heat dissipation scheme. These improvements are achieved due to optimization of the wafer fused gain mirror structure based on AlGaInAs/InP-active region fused to AlAs-GaAs distributed Bragg reflector (DBR) and application of efficient methods of bonding semiconductor gain mirror chips to diamond heatspreaders.
We present a master oscillator power amplifier (MOPA) system that comprises a mode-locked semiconductor disk laser (SDL) emitting at 1.33 μm and a bismuth-doped fiber amplifier. The mode-locked SDL was fabricated by wafer bonding an InP-based gain section with a GaAs-based distributed Bragg reflector (DBR) using (3-Mercaptopropyl)-trimethoxysilane. The bismuth-doped fiber amplifier was pumped with a continuous wave SDL emitting at 1.18 μm. The MOPA system produced pulses at a repetition rate of 827 MHz with a pulse energy of 0.62 nJ, which corresponds to an average output power of more than 0.5 W.
Optically pumped semiconductor disk lasers (SDLs) are presented with emphasis on wafer bonding InP-based active regions with GaAs-based distributed Bragg reflectors (DBRs) and reducing the number of required layer pairs in the DBR. The wafer bonding is performed at a relatively low temperature of 200 °C utilizing transparent intermediate bonding layers. The reflectivity of the semiconductor DBR section is enhanced by finishing the DBR with a thin low refractive index layer and a highly reflecting metal layer. Such a design enables considerably thinner mirror structures than the conventional design, where the semiconductor DBR is finished with mere metal layers. In addition, a 90 nm thick Al2O3 layer is shown to produce negligible increase in the thermal resistance of the SDL. Furthermore, a flip-chip SDL with a GaAs/AlAs-Al2O3-Al mirror is demonstrated with watt-level output power at the wavelength of 1.32 μm. The properties and future improvement issues for flip-chip SDLs emitting at 1.3–1.6 μm are also discussed.
Optically pumped wafer fused 1310 nm VECSELs have the advantage of high output power and wavelength agility. Gain mirrors in these lasers are formed by direct bonding of InAlGaAs/InP active cavities to Al(Ga)As/GaAs DBRs. We present for the first time Watt-level 1310 nm wafer-fused VCSELs based on gain mirrors with heat dissipation in the “flip-chip” configuration. Even though output power levels in this approach is lower than with intra-cavity diamond heat-spreaders, the “flip-chip configuration demonstrates higher quality optical emission and is preferable for industrial applications in optical amplifiers, intra-cavity doubled lasers, etc.
Recent developments of wafer-fused long-wavelength VECSELs resulted in reaching record high CW output power of
6.6 W at 1300 nm and a coherence length longer than 5 km in fiber and 1 Watt of output power in single frequency
regime at 1550 nm. First wafer-fused electrically pumped VECSELs emitting at 1470 nm demonstrate maximum CW output power of 6.5 mW which represents more than 10-times improvement compared with previously published results.
The concept of multiple gain element cavity was applied for power scaling a passively mode-locked semiconductor disk
laser. 400 mW of average output power for the laser with a single gain element was boosted to 900 mW for the laser with
the dual gain cavity. The increase in output power was accompanied by an increase in the order of mode-locking
The conventional distributed feedback (DFB) edge-emitting lasers with buried gratings require two or more epitaxial
growth steps. To avoid the problematic overgrowth we have used laterally-corrugated ridge-waveguide surface gratings,
which also enable easy integration of the resulting laterally-coupled DFB (LC-DFB) lasers with other devices and are
applicable to different materials, including Al-containing ones. The paper presents the modeling and design
particularities of LC-DFB lasers, the fabrication process, involving a highly productive and cost-effective UVnanoimprint
lithography technique, and the characteristics obtained for the LC-DFB lasers fabricated from GaAs-, GaSband
InP-based epiwafers. The first batches of GaAs-based LC-DFB lasers, emitting at 894 nm, GaSb-based LC-DFB
lasers emitting at 1.946 μm and InP-based LC-DFB lasers, emitting at 1.55 μm had relatively low threshold currents, a
high side-mode-suppression-ratio and exhibited linewidths in the range of 1 MHz and below, showing that the LC-DFB
lasers are an effective low-cost alternative for the conventional buried-grating DFB lasers.
1300-nm, 1550-nm and 1480-nm wavelength, optically-pumped VECSELs based on wafer-fused InAlGaAs/InPAlGaAs/
GaAs gain mirrors with intra-cavity diamond heat-spreaders demonstrate very low thermal impedance of 4
K/W. Maximum CW output of devices with5 groups of quantum wells show CW output power of 2.7 W from 180μm
apertures in both 1300-nm and 1550-nm bands. Devices with 3 groups of quantum wells emitting at 1480 nm and with
the same aperture size show CW output of 4.8 W. These devices emit a high quality beam with M² beam parameter
below 1.6 allowing reaching a coupling efficiency into a single mode fiber as high as 70 %. Maximum value of output
power of 6.6 W was reached for 1300nm wavelength devices with 290μm aperture size.
The 1550nm wavelength region is critical to the development of next generation eye safe military applications such as
range finding and friend or foe identification (FOE). So far the relatively low laser external efficiency was a strong
limiting factor favoring shorter wavelength diode lasers. We report on the development of a new monolithic multiple
junction pulsed laser diode offering an external efficiency of more than one Watt per Amp with high brightness. Peak
optical output power of more than 37 Watts has been achieved from a single multi-junction diode laser. Divergence is
narrow with less than 35 degrees (FWHM) in the fast axis direction. Starting from an AlGaInAs quantum well laser
structure, we show the criticality of the design of InP based tunnel junctions to the growth of the three layer epitaxial
monolithic laser. We then report on trenches employed to confine carriers under the contacting stripe and on growth
strategies used to decouple the multiple light sources resulting from the multi-junction design. A full set of
characterization data is presented concluding with a discussion on performance limitations and their potential causes.
A wafer fusing was applied to integrate an InP-based active medium and a GaAs/AlGaAs distributed Bragg reflector in
an optically pumped semiconductor disk laser. Over 50 mW of output power at room temperature in 1570-1585 nm
spectral range was demonstrated. The results of this study reveal an important finding: the wafer fusion can be used in
emitters with high power. This approach would allow for monolithic integration of lattice-mismatched compounds,
quantum-well and quantum-dot based media and promises substantial wavelength tailoring of semiconductor disk lasers.