Analyzing the effect of doping concentration in split-well resonant-phonon terahertz quantum cascade lasers

Shiran Levy, Nathalie Lander Gower, Silvia Piperno, Sadhvikas J. Addamane, John L. Reno, Asaf Albo

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The effect of doping concentration on the temperature performance of the novel split-well resonant-phonon (SWRP) terahertz quantum-cascade laser (THz QCL) scheme supporting a clean 4-level system design was analyzed using non-equilibrium Green’s functions (NEGF) calculations. Experimental research showed that increasing the doping concentration in these designs led to better results compared to the split-well direct-phonon (SWDP) design, which has a larger overlap between its active laser states and the doping profile. However, further improvement in the temperature performance was expected, which led us to assume there was an increased gain and line broadening when increasing the doping concentration despite the reduced overlap between the doped region and the active laser states. Through simulations based on NEGF calculations we were able to study the contribution of the different scattering mechanisms on the performance of these devices. We concluded that the main mechanism affecting the lasers’ temperature performance is electron-electron (e-e) scattering, which largely contributes to gain and line broadening. Interestingly, this scattering mechanism is independent of the doping location, making efforts to reduce overlap between the doped region and the active laser states less effective. Optimization of the e-e scattering thus could be reached only by fine tuning of the doping density in the devices. By uncovering the subtle relationship between doping density and e-e scattering strength, our study not only provides a comprehensive understanding of the underlying physics but also offers a strategic pathway for overcoming current limitations. This work is significant not only for its implications on specific devices but also for its potential to drive advancements in the entire THz QCL field, demonstrating the crucial role of e-e scattering in limiting temperature performance and providing essential knowledge for pushing THz QCLs to new temperature heights.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12040-12053
Number of pages14
JournalOptics Express
Issue number7
StatePublished - 25 Mar 2024

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