We show our latest results on electrically-driven VCSELs incorporating a monolithic high contrast grating (MHCG) mirror. Via optimized processing techniques we achieve a 3-fold improvement in threshold current and optical output power and a 2-fold improvement in the small-signal modulation bandwidth frequency with respect to the first generation of our MHCG VCSELs.
We design, produce, characterize, and compare 850 nm vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSELs) with one and two oxide aperture layers, and with cavity optical thicknesses of 0.5λ and 1.5λ. We process five VCSEL wafers side by side with varying oxide aperture diameters from about 4 to 16 m and perform on-wafer static and dynamic testing. From optical output power-current-voltage characteristics we extract and compare threshold currents, differential series resistances, and wall plug efficiencies. We measure the dynamic 2-port scattering parameters (S11 and S21) to determine the small signal modulation frequency response of the VCSEL and the combined VCSEL and photodetector optical link. By extracting and comparing the D-factor, modulation current efficiency factor, -3 dB bandwidth, and resistanceinductance- capacitance (RLC) circuit elements we find only a small difference in the static and dynamic performance characteristics of the five VCSEL designs, with slightly higher bandwidth for the half-lambda cavity VCSELs with two top oxide apertures.
Monolithically grown, electrically-injected VCSELs of a generic design - a short cavity, sandwiched between two distributed Bragg reflectors (DBRs) - can only be realized easily in a gallium arsenide (GaAs) material system which restricts the emission wavelength to ~600 - 1100 nm range. The smartphones market and emerging applications such as LIDAR (light detection and ranging), free space communication and face recognition create a demand for VCSELs emitting outside of this range. We demonstrate electrically-injected VCSELs incorporating a monolithic high contrast grating (MHCG) - a special case of a subwavelength high contrast grating mirror (HCG). MHCG can be made of most of the common materials used in optoelectronics and provides reflectivity close to 100% at a wavelength of interest in range from ultraviolet to infrared. In contrast to the HCG, the MHCG doesn't have to be surrounded by a low refractive index material and hence, can be monolithically integrated with the rest of the VCSEL cavity. In our design the greater part of the top DBR is substituted by an MHCG mirror which reduces the amount of required material and growth time by about 20%. We show continuous wave emission around 980 nm up to 75 °C ambient temperature. Our devices are quasi-single- and double-mode from threshold to rollover for 13.5 μm and 16.5 μm oxide aperture diameters respectively. Our MHCG VCSEL concept can be produced using material systems where lattice-matched and high reflectivity DBRs are not available to create devices emitting at wavelengths from ultraviolet to infrared.
Reliability and characterization of 850 nm 25 Gbit/s (25G) InGaAs/AlGaAs vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) with oxide apertures, fabricated at OEpic Semiconductors, Inc., are presented. These 25G VCSELs have demonstrated a threshold current of <1.0 mA and a slope efficiency of 0.45 W/A. An optical output power of >;5.0 mW and rise and fall times of 18 and 25 ps, respectively, have been achieved. The non-hermetically sealed VCSELs were stress tested at 85o C under bias for up to 1200 hours to achieve accelerated failure modes to predict atmospheric-ambient reliability for applications such as board-to-board data communications. VCSEL failures are likely due to a combination of factors including the propagation of dislocation defects from the oxide layers, the incorporation of ambient oxygen into and near the active region, as well as layer cracking and separation near the active regions due to stress from the mechanical strain induced by the oxide layers. Our high-speed VCSELs use 0.5λ optical cavity lengths and oxide layers that are as close as 126 nm to the active region. OEpic’s design uses two or more oxide apertures to increase current confinement, allowing for greater overall current density. The proximity of the oxide layers to the active region, coupled with the increased heating of the active region due to a higher current density, likely results in a non-radiative recombination-based lasing failure. An increase of the optical cavity length, a decrease of the selective oxidation rate, and a reduction of the oxide layer thickness are measures that are expected to improve the VCSEL reliability.
We are reporting the first successful fabrication of 850-nm buried tunnel junction (BTJ) VCSELs. Multiple parameters were considered for the design. First, n-type dopants other than silicon had to be considered for an abrupt junction. Second, proper layer thickness had to be chosen. Finally, compatibility with regrowth and processing had to be ensured. In this paper the successful fabrication and performance of 850-nm BTJ VCSELs with tunnel junctions comprised of GaAs and AlGaAs materials is demonstrated. Key achieved parameters include a significant improvement in the slope efficiency from approximately 0.45 W/A in an oxide-aperture VCSEL to over 0.6 W/A.
Physical parameters that need to be controlled during the wet oxidation of VCSEL mesas are numerous and include: temperature uniformity, vapor flow pattern, epitaxial thickness and composition uniformity, diffusion through adjacent layers, oxidation onset delay, etch skirt, and wafer surface prep. We report the results of our studies on some of these factors including vapor flow patterns, and oxidation front monitoring. The results are being used for the optimization of our commercial system for wet lateral oxidation.