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Strategies of Nanoscale Semiconductor Lasers

  • Samuel S. Mao
Part of the Nanostructure Science and Technology book series (NST)

Abstract

Semiconductor lasers are in many ways second only to transistors as to their impact on today’s high-tech industries. The unique characteristics, such as narrow emission wavelength, high-frequency modulation, and device integratibility, make semiconductor lasers ideal photon sources for applications as diverse as telecommunication, signal processing, material characterization, and medical diagnostics. Advances in material growth technologies, particularly molecular-beam epitaxy, metal-organic chemical vapor deposition, and a suite of innovative chemical and physical synthesis techniques, make the fabrication of high-quality nanoscale semiconductor structures possible. Thanks to the quantum size effects that drastically modify the energy spectra of confined electrons in reduced dimensions, the population inversion necessary for lasing action occurs more efficiently as the active semiconductor gain medium is scaled down from the bulk to the nanometer scale. Consequently, semiconductor lasers built with nanoscale active media are expected to exhibit extraordinary features such as great color range, high optical gain, and low lasing threshold. Indeed, miniaturized lasers using nanoscale semiconductor gain media—two-dimensional quantum wells, one-dimensional quantum wires, and zero-dimensional quantum dots—have shown significant improvements in device Performance. This chapter provides an overview of the physics and technologies behind the rapid progress in the miniaturization of semiconductor lasers.

Keywords

Semiconductor Laser Quantum Wire Quantum Cascade Laser Threshold Current Density Optical Confinement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel S. Mao
    • 1
  1. 1.Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeley

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