Next-generation infrared countermeasure (IRCM) systems call for compact and lightweight high-power laser sources. Specifically, optical output power of tens of Watts in the mid-wave infrared (MWIR) is desired. Monolithically fabricated arrays of quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) have the potential to meet these requirements. Single MWIR QCL emitters operating in continuous wave at room temperature have demonstrated multi-Watt power levels with wall-plug efficiency of up to ~20%. However, tens of Watts of output power from an array of QCLs translates into the necessity of removing hundreds of Watts per cm2, a formidable thermal management challenge. A potential thermal solution for such high-power QCL arrays is active cooling based on high-performance thin-film thermoelectric coolers (TFTECs), in conjunction with pumped porous-media heat exchangers. The use of active cooling via TFTECs makes it possible to not only pump the heat away, but also to lower the QCL junction temperature, thus improving the wall-plug efficiency of the array. TFTECs have shown the ability to pump >250W/cm2 at ΔT=0K, which is 25 times greater than that typically seen in commercially available bulk thermoelectric devices.
We study the multimode operation regimes of midinfrared quantum cascade lasers (QCLs), taking into account nonlinear phase-sensitive interactions between transverse modes. We show the possibility of the coherent coupling of several transverse modes, which results in a number of interesting effects including frequency and phase locking between transverse modes, bistability, and beam steering. We present an analytical model for the modal dynamics and its numerical analysis. Effects of amplitude and phase fluctuations on the modal stability are explored. The theoretical results are in agreement with our experimental measurements of buried heterostructure QCLs.
Wavelength beam combining was used to co-propagate beams from 28 elements in a linear array of distributedfeedback
quantum cascade lasers (DFB-QCLs). The overlap of the beams in the far-field is improved using
wavelength beam combining; the beam-quality product of the array, defined as the product of near-field spot
size and far-field divergence for the entire array, was improved by a factor of 21. We measured the absorption
spectrum of isopropanol at a distance of 6 m from the laser arrays, demonstrating the efficacy of wavelength
beam combined DFB-QCL arrays for remote sensing.
We report the observation of electroluminescence from intersubband transitions in the valence band of Si/SiGe quantum cascade structures. The samples were grown by molecular beam epitaxy at 350 degree(s)C and reveal good crystal quality as determined by transmission electron microscopy and high resolution x-ray diffraction. The 4-fold quantum cascade structure is repeated 3 times interspersed by two Si spacer layers to reduce the high strain. Electrical contact is provided by the doped back and top contact layers. The electroluminescence of three samples is investigated. The peak energy of 130 meV to 150 meV is found to be close to the calculated value of the intended heavy hole (HH) 2 to HH1 transition of the respective sample. The luminescence signal is TM polarized as expected for intersubband transitions between HH levels. By comparison with a III-V quantum cascade structure the lifetime of the upper state could be determined; it was found that it depends strongly on the design, but it can reach values comparable to III-V quantum cascade structures.