The integration of optical functions on a microelectronic chip brings many innovative perspectives, along with the possibility to enhance the performances of photonic integrated circuits (PIC). Owing to the delta-like density of states, quantum dot lasers (QD) directly grown on silicon are very promising for achieving low-cost transmitters with high thermal stability and large insensitivity to optical reflections. This paper investigates the dynamical and nonlinear properties of silicon based QD lasers through the prism of the linewidth broadening factor (i.e. the so-called α-factor) and the optical feedback dynamics. Results demonstrate that InAs/GaAs p-doped QD lasers epitaxially grown on silicon exhibit very low α-factors, which directly transform into an ultra-large resistance against optical feedback. As opposed to what is observed in heterogeneously integrated quantum well (QW) lasers, no chaotic state occurs owing to the high level of QD size uniformity resulting in a near zero α-factor. Considering these results, this study suggests that QD lasers made with direct epitaxial growth is a powerful solution for integration into silicon CMOS technology, which requires both high thermal stability and feedback resistant lasers.
A common way of extracting the chirp parameter (i.e., the α-factor) of semiconductor lasers is usually performed by extracting the net modal gain and the wavelength from the amplified spontaneous emission (ASE) spectrum. Although this method is straightforward, it remains sensitive to the thermal effects hence leading to a clear underestimation of the α-factor. In this work, we investigate the chirp parameter of InAs/GaAs quantum dot (QD) lasers epitaxially grown on silicon with a measurement technique evaluating the gain and wavelength changes of the suppressed side modes by optical injection locking. Given that the method is thermally insensitive, the presented results confirm our initial measurements conducted with the ASE i.e. the α-factor of the QD lasers directly grown on silicon is as low as 0.15 hence resulting from the low threading dislocation density and high material gain of the active region. These conclusions make such lasers very promising for future integrated photonics where narrow linewidth, feedback resistant and low-chirp on-chip transmitters are required.
Silicon photonics promises scalable manufacturing of integrated photonic devices through utilization of established CMOS processing techniques and facilities. Unfortunately, the silicon photonics platform lacks a viable light source, which has historically been overcome through heterogeneous integration techniques. To further improve economic viability, the platform must transition to direct epitaxy on Si to bypass the scaling limits imposed by the small sizes and high cost of III-V substrates in heterogeneous integration. InAs quantum dots have demonstrated themselves as the most promising candidate for achieving high performance light emitters epitaxially grown on Si. Using molecular beam epitaxy, we have grown quantum dot lasers composed of InAs dot-in-a-well active layers on industry-standard, on-axis (001) Si substrates. In this report, we utilized p-doping of the quantum dot active region to increase gain for improved dynamic performance and reliability. These devices have been subjected to accelerated aging conditions at 60°C and a bias multiple of twice threshold current density. After 2,750 hours of continuous aging, an extrapolated lifetime of more than 100,000 hours has been calculated.