High-Power Infrared (8-Micrometer Wavelength) Superlattice Lasers

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Science  02 May 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5313, pp. 773-776
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5313.773

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A quantum-cascade long-wavelength infrared laser based on superlattice active regions has been demonstrated. In this source, electrons injected by tunneling emit photons corresponding to the energy gap (minigap) between two superlattice conduction bands (minibands). A distinctive design feature is the high oscillator strength of the optical transition. Pulsed operation at a wavelength of about 8 micrometers with peak powers ranging from ∼0.80 watt at 80 kelvin to 0.2 watt at 200 kelvin has been demonstrated in a superlattice with 1-nanometer-thick AlInAs barriers and 4.3-nanometer-thick GaInAs quantum wells grown by molecular beam epitaxy. These results demonstrate the potential of strongly coupled superlattices as infrared laser materials for high-power sources in which the wavelength can be tailored by design.

  • * Present address: Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Bari, 70126 Bari, Italy. E-mail: scamarcio{at}

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: fc{at}

  • Present address: LCR Thomson-CSF, Domaine de Corbeville, 91400 Orsay, France.

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