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2010 | 117 | 5 | 772-776
Article title

Quantum Cascade Laser Design for Tunable Output at Characteristic Wavelengths in the Mid-Infrared Spectral Range

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We present a method for systematic optimization of quantum cascade laser active region, based on the use of the genetic algorithm. The method aims at obtaining a gain-maximized structure, designed to emit radiation at specified wavelengths suitable for direct absorption by pollutant gasses present in the ambient air. After the initial optimization stage, we introduce a strong external magnetic field to tune the laser output properties and to slightly modify the emission wavelength to match the absorption lines of additional compounds. The magnetic field is applied perpendicularly to the epitaxial layers, thus causing two-dimensional continuous energy subbands to split into series of discrete Landau levels. This affects all the relevant relaxation processes in the structure and consequently the lifetime of carriers in the upper laser level. Furthermore, strong effects of band nonparabolicity result in subtle changes of the lasing wavelength at magnetic fields which maximize the gain, thus providing a path for fine-tuning of the output radiation properties. Numerical results are presented for GaAs/Al_{x}Ga_{1-x}As based quantum cascade laser structures designed to emit at particular wavelengths in the mid-infrared part of the spectrum.
Physical description
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