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Journal of the Korean Physical Society, Vol. 47, No. 3, September 2005, pp.

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Many-Body Optical Gain of InGaNAs/GaAsN Quantum-Well Lasers


Hwa-Min Kim, Jong-Jae Kim and Seoung-Hwan Park
Department of Physics and Semiconductor Science, Catholic University of Daegu, Kyongbuk 712-702 (Received 3 June 2005) The many-body optical gain of InGaNAs/GaAsN/GaAs trilayer and InGaNAs/GaAs single layer QW lasers are theoretically investigated using the non-Markovian relaxation and many-body eects. The theoretical threshold current density is also compared with the experiment. The trilayer QW laser have larger threshold carrier density and radiative current density than single layer QW lasers. because the former has smaller optical matrix elements and quasi-Fermi level separation than the latter. On the other hand, both QW structures are found to have very similar threshold current densities for relatively long cavity lengths (> 1000 m). This means that the trilayer QW lasers are promising because they have several advantages, such as the realization of longer wavelengths and the strain compensation. Good agreement is found between the experiment and calculated threshold current density with a tting parameter of C = 0.9 1028 cm6 s1 .
PACS numbers: 85.60.Bt, 85.30.De, 85.30.Vw, 78.20.Bh Keywords: Quantum Well Laser, GaN, Optical gain, Threshold current density

I. INTRODUCTION

The quaternary GaInNAs compound has recently attracted much attention due to its potential for the construction of low-cost GaAs-based optoelectronic devices operating in the 1.3- or 1.55-m regions. GaInNAs/GaAs laser diodes have better temperature characteristics compared with conventional GaInPAs/InP laser diodes [1, 2]. This is mainly due to the stronger electron connement resulting from the larger conduction band oset between GaInNAs and GaAs. GaInNAs is also suitable for monolithic growth with AlGaAs/GaAs distributed Bragg reectors (DBRs) in longwavelength vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) on GaAs substrates [3]. Increasing the N composition in the GaInNAs well is often used to achieve a longer emitting wavelength. However, this results in the formation of N-related nonradiative recombination centers during the crystal growth. Recently, the conventional GaAs barrier has been replaced by tensile-strained GaAsN in order to achieve emission at a longer wavelength and a lower threshold current density. For example, Pavelescu et al. [4] observed that a QW structure with a tensile-strained GaAsN barrier exhibited improved material properties and a remarkable redshift of emission with enhanced light intensity. Li et al. [5] obtained a threshold cur E-mail:

rent density of 546 A/cm2 at room temperature for an InGaNAs/GaAsN/GaAs Fabry-Perot laser with a cavity length of 1600 m. An additional benet from the utilization of tensile-strained GaAsN barriers is strain compensation of the highly strained InGaNAs QW [6]. On the theoretical side, Fan et al. [7] investigated the effects of tensil strain in a barrier on the optical gain spectra. However, many fundamental properties of GaInNAs/GaAsN/GaAs QWs are not yet well understood. In particular, there has been little work on comparisons between experiments and calculations for the threshold current density in GaInNAs/GaAsN/GaAs QW lasers. In this paper, the many-body optical gain of InGaNAs/GaAsN/GaAs QW lasers is investigated theoretically using non-Markovian relaxation and many-body eects. These results are compared with those of InGaNAs/GaAs QW structures. The theoretical threshold current density is also compared with the experimental data. The band structures and the wave functions are obtained by solving the Schr odinger equation for electrons and the 3 3 Hamiltonian for holes [8,9].

II. THEORY The optical gain spectra are calculated by using the non-Markovian gain model with many-body eects [10, 11]. The optical gain with many-body eects is given by
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hmkim@cu.ac.kr

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Journal of the Korean Physical Society, Vol. 47, No. 3, September 2005

g ( ) =

o
l,m

e2 m2 o

dk||
0

k|| 2 c v | M lm (k )| [fl (k|| ) fm (k|| )] Lw (1)

(1 ReQ(k , ))ReL(Elm (k , )) ImQ(k , )ImL(Elm (k , )) , (1 ReQ(k , ))2 + (ImQ(k , ))2

where is the angular frequency, o is the vacuum permeability, is the dielectric constant, k|| is the magnitude of the in-plane wave vector in the QW plane, Lw is the well thickness, |Mlm |2 is the momentum matrix v element in the strained QW, flc and fm are the Fermi functions for the conduction band states and the valence band states, respectively, and is the Planck constant divide by 2 . The indices l and m denote the electron states in the conduction band and the heavy hole (light hole) subband states in the valence band, v (k ) + respectively. Also, Elm (k , ) = Elc (k ) Em Eg + ESX + ECH is the renormalized transition energy between electrons and holes, where Eg is the band-gap of the material, and ESX and ECH are the screened exchange and Coulomb-hole contributions [12] to the band-gap renormalization, respectively. The factor Q(k , ) accounts for the excitonic or the Coulomb enhancement of the interband transition probability [12, 13]. The line-shape function is Gaussian for the simplest non-Markovian quantum kinetics and is given by [10,11] Re[L(Elm (k , ))] = in (k , )c 2 2 (2)

emission spectrum by using Eq.(4) with rspon () = 8cn2 gsp (), 4 (5)

where gsp () is the spontaneous emission coecient, = 2c/ , c is the speed of light, and n is the refractive index of the quantum well. The threshold gain gth is calculated with the following equation: gth = i + ln(1/R)/Lcav , (6)

where is the optical connement factor, i is the intrinsic mode loss, R is the reectivity of the end mirrors, and Lcav is the cavity length. The threshold current density Nth is obtained using Eq. (6) and the calculated gain-current relations. We assume that the optical connement factor is given by = Nw Lw , where Nw is the number of QWs and is the optical connement factor per unit width of the QW. Here, we assume the typical value of 2 103 nm1 for GaAs-based lasers [14]. The threshold current density is given by
2 3 Jth = eNw Lw (ANth + Bef f Nth + CNth ),

(7)

in (k , )c 2 exp Elm (k , ) 2 2 and Im[L(Elm (k , ))] =

exp

c t2 2in (k , ) t dt. (3)

where Nth is the threshold carrier density, A is the monomolecular recombination coecient, and C is the Auger recombination coecient. In order to carry out the threshold current calculations, we assume i = 5 cm1 on A = 1.0 108 s1 [15,16]. The Auger recombination coecient was used as a tting parameter.

sin

c Elm (k , )

III. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Figure 1 shows the potential proles and the wave functions (C1 and HH1) at zone center of (a) In0.40 Ga0.60 N0.005 As0.995 /GaAs single layer and (b) In0.40 Ga0.60 N0.005 As0.995 /GaN0.03 As0.97 /GaAs trilayer QW structures. The barrier width of GaAs is set to 100 A. The compressive strain in the well and the tensile strain in the GaNAs barrier are 2.68 and 0.64 %, respectively. Here, the valence band discontinuity Ev for GaInNAs/GaNAs is assumed to be the same as Ev for GaInNAs/GaAs because the valence band discontinuity for GaNAs/GaAs is believed to be very small. [7] The transition energy is observed to decrease with the inclusion of the GaNAs barrier. For example, the transition energy between C1 and HH1 for the single layer

The intraband relaxation time in and the correlation time c are assumed to be constant. The in and c used in the calculation are 60 and 15 fs, respectively. The radiative current density can be related to the spontaneous emission rate as

Jrad = eNw Lw
0

rspon ()d = eNw Lw Bef f N 2 , (4)

where e is the charge on an electron, Nw is the number of wells, Lw is the width of a quantum well, rspon () is the spontaneous emission rate, Bef f is the eective radiative recombination coecient, and N is the carrier density. Jrad can be obtained from our calculated spontaneous

Many-Body Optical Gain of InGaNAs/GaAsN Quantum-Well Lasers Hwa-Min Kim et al.

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Fig. 1. Potential proles and wave functions (C1 and HH1) at zone center of (a) In0.40 Ga0.60 N0.005 As0.995 /GaAs single layer and (b) In0.40 Ga0.60 N0.005 As0.995 /GaN0.03 As0.97 /GaAs trilayer QW structures. Here, the barrier width of GaAs is set to 100 A.

Fig. 2. Many-body optical gain as functions of (a) the carrier density and (b) the radiative current density of In0.40 Ga0.60 N0.005 As0.995 /GaAs single layer and In0.40 Ga0.60 N0.005 As0.995 /GaN0.03 As0.97 /GaAs trilayer QW structures.

QW structure is 0.99 eV while that for the trilayer QW structure is 0.97 eV. This is due to the reduction in the energy bandgap energy of GaNAs and the tensile strain eect in the GaNAs barrier. Figure 2 show the many-body optical gain as functions of (a) the carrier density and (b) the radiative current density of In0.40 Ga0.60 N0.005 As0.995 /GaAs single layer and In0.40 Ga0.60 N0.005 As0.995 /GaN0.03 As0.97 /GaAs trilayer QW structures. For a given carrier density, the trilayer QW laser has a smaller optical gain than the single layer QW laser. This is mainly attributed to the fact that the former has a smaller matrix element and Fermienergy level separation than the latter, as discussed below. In the case of the single layer QW laser, the transparency carrier densities are 0.9 1012 cm2 . On the other hand, the trilayer QW structure shows an increased transparency carrier density compared to the single layer QW structure. The transparency occurs when the separation in the quasi-Fermi levels equals the gap between the lowest and the highest subbands for the electrons and the holes. Hence, the increase in the transparency carrier density can be explained by the fact that the quasi-Fermi level separation is reduced with the inclusion of the GaNAs layer. Also, we know that, for a given threshold optical gain, the radiative current density contribution to the threshold current density of the trilayer QW structure is larger than that of the single layer QW structure. Figure 3 show (a) normalized optical matrix elements for the C1-HH1 transition as a function of the in-plane wavevector k|| and (b) the quasi-Fermi-level separation Ef c + Ef v as a function of the carrier density of In0.40 Ga0.60 N0.005 As0.995 /GaAs single layer and In0.40 Ga0.60 N0.005 As0.995 /GaN0.03 As0.97 /GaAs trilayer QW structures. The quasi-Fermi-level separation Ef c (Ef v ) is dened as the energy dierence between

Fig. 3. (a) Normalized optical matrix elements for the C1-HH1 transition as a function of the in-plane wavevector k|| and (b) quasi-Fermi-level separation, Ef c + Ef v as a function of the carrier density of In0.40 Ga0.60 N0.005 As0.995 /GaAs single layer and In0.40 Ga0.60 N0.005 As0.995 /GaN0.03 As0.97 /GaAs trilayer QW structures.

the quasi-Fermi level and the ground-state energy in the conduction band (the valence band). The normalized optical matrix elements for the trilayer QW structure are smaller than those of the single layer QW structure. In the case of the trilayer QW structure, the ground states of the electron and the hole wave functions are still mainly distributed in the GaInNAs layer region. However, compared with the wave function in the valence band, the spatial distribution of the wave function in the conduction band is more dispersed due to the reduction n the barrier height caused by the introduction of the GaNAs layer, as shown in Fig. 1. This results in a decrease in the optical matrix elements with the inclusion of the GaNAs layser. Also, the quasi-Fermi-level separation of the trilayer QW structure is shown to be smaller than that of the single layer QW structure. Hence, we

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Journal of the Korean Physical Society, Vol. 47, No. 3, September 2005

those of InGaNAs/GaAs single layer QW structures. For a given carrier density, the trilayer QW laser has a smaller optical gain than the single layer QW laser because the trilayer QW structure has smaller optical matrix elements and quasi-Fermi level separation than the single layer QW structure. On the other hand, both QW structures are found to have very similar threshold current densities for relatively long cavity lengths (> 1000 m). Thus, the trilayer QW structures are promising because they have several extra advantages, such as the realization of longer wavelengths and strain compensation, compared to the single layer QW structures. We obtain good agreement between the experiment and the calculated threshold current density with a tting parameter of C = 0.9 1028 cm6 s1 .
Fig. 4. Comparison between the calculated threshold current density and the experimental data for In0.40 Ga0.60 N0.005 As0.995 /GaAs single layer and In0.40 Ga0.60 N0.005 As0.995 /GaN0.03 As0.97 /GaAs trilayer QW structures. The symbols are the experimental results in Ref. 6.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This work was supported by the Catholic University of Daegu.

know that the reduction in the optical gain observed for the trilayer QW structure is attributed to reductions in the optical matrix elements and in the quasi-Fermi level separation. Figure 4 show a comparison between the calculated threshold current density and the experimental data for In0.40 Ga0.60 N0.005 As0.995 /GaAs single layer and In0.40 Ga0.60 N0.005 As0.995 /GaN0.03 As0.97 /GaAs trilayer QW structures. The symbols are the experimental results in Ref. 6. The threshold current density largely increases with decreasing cavity length because a shorter cavity length requires a higher threshold gain. For a relatively short cavity length (< 1000 m), the trilayer QW structure shows a larger threshold current density than the single layer QW structure because the former has a larger threshold carrier density and radiative current density than the latter in the range of short cavity length. On the other hand, for a relatively long cavity length (> 1000 m), both QW structures are found to have very similar threshold current densities. This is attributed to the fact that the dierence in the threshold carrier densities between the two QW structures is very small in the range of long cavity length. This means that trilayer QW lasers are promising because they have several advantages, such as the realization of longer wavelengths and strain compensation. For both QW structures, we obtain a good agreement between the experiment and the calculated threshold current density with a tting parameter of C = 0.9 1028 cm6 s1 . IV. SUMMARY In summary, we have theoretically investigated the many-body optical gain of InGaNAs/GaAsN/GaAs trilayer QW lasers by using non-Markovian relaxation and many-body eects. These results are compared with

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