The use of native oxides (selective oxidation) in vertical cavity surface emitting lasers has produced dramatic improvements in these laser diodes but has also been suspected of causing poor reliability because of incidental reports of short lifetimes and physical considerations. Here we discuss the results of thousands of hours life-tests for oxide confined and implant confined devices at current densities from 1 to 12 kA/cm2. There was a single infant mortality failure from a sample of 14 oxide confined lasers with the remainder showing relatively stable operation. The failed device is analyzed in terms of light current characteristics and near-field electroluminescence images, and potential screening criteria are proposed.
We examine carrier relaxation and radiative recombination in AlGaAs-based near IR and AlGaInP-based visible fractal quantum well heterostructures. Through temperature dependent photoluminescence, we demonstrate that enhanced population of higher lying energy levels can be achieved by varying the thickness of the layers in the fractal heterostructure. This distribution of carriers results in room temperature emission over a relatively broad range of wavelengths: approximately 700-855 nm for AlGaAs structures and 575-650 nm for AlGaInP structures. Spectra are compared to theoretical calculations to evaluate the nonequilibrium nature of the carrier distributions. Time resolved photoluminescence measurements demonstrate an approximately linear relationship between the radiative decay time and the layer thickness of the structure. Correspondingly, integrated luminescence measurements at room temperature reveal a factor of four increase in the light output efficiency of the structure as the fractal layer thickness is increased from 50 angstrom to 400 angstrom. The applicability of these heterostructures to broadband LEDs is discussed.
The gain-dependent polarization properties of vertical-cavity surface emitting lasers and methods for polarization control and modulation are discussed. The partitioning of power between the two orthogonal eigen polarizations is shown to depend upon the relative spectral alignment of the nondegenerate polarization cavity resonances with the laser gain spectrum. A dominant polarization can thus be maintained by employing a blue-shifted offset of the peak laser gain relative to the cavity resonance wavelength. Alternatively, the polarization can be controlled through use of anisotropic transverse cavity geometries. The orthogonal eigen polarizations are also shown to enable polarization modulation. By exploiting polarization switching transitions in cruciform lasers, polarization modulation of the fundamental mode up to 50 MHz is demonstrated. At lower modulation frequencies, complementary digital polarized output or frequency doubling of the polarized output is obtained. Control and manipulation of vertical-cavity laser polarization may prove valuable for present and future applications.
An optical interconnection system is being developed to provide vertical, digital data channels for stacked multichip modules. A key component of the system is an array of individually addressable vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers with diffractive lenses integrated into the substrate to control beam divergence and direction. The lenses were fabricated by direct-write e-beam lithography and reactive ion beam etching into the GaAs substrate. Preliminary device performance data and the design and fabrication issues are discussed.