AuthorBedford, Robert George
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe development of high power, high brightness semiconductor lasers is important for applications such as efficient pumping of fiber amplifiers and free space communication. The ability to couple directly into the core of a single-mode fiber can vastly increase the absorption of pump light. Further, the high mode-selectivity provided by unstable resonators accommodates single-mode operation to many times the threshold current level. The objective of this dissertation is to investigate a more efficient semiconductor-based unstable resonator design. The tapered unstable resonator laser consists of a single-mode ridge coupled to a tapered gain region. The ridge, aided by spoiling grooves, provides essential preparation of the fundamental mode, while the taper provides significant amplification and a large output mode. It is shown a laterally finite taper-side mirror (making the laser a "finite-aperture tapered unstable resonator laser") serves to significantly improve differential quantum efficiency. This results in the possibility for higher optical powers while still maintaining single-mode operation. Additionally, the advent of a detuned second order grating allows for a low divergent, quasicircular output beam emitted from the semiconductor surface, easing packaging tolerances, and making two dimensional integrated arrays possible. In this dissertation, theory, design, fabrication, and characterization are presented. Material theory is introduced, reviewing gain, carrier, and temperature effects on field propagation. Coupled-mode and coupled wave theory is reviewed to allow simulation of the passive grating. A numerical model is used to investigate laser design and optimization, and effects of finite-apertures are explored. A microfabrication method is introduced to create the FATURL in InAlGaAs/-InGaAsP/InP material emitting at about 1410 nm. Fabrication consists of photolithography, electron-beam lithography, wet etch and dry etching processes, metal and dielectric electron-beam evaporation, and rapid-thermal annealing. FATURLs are compared to infinite aperture TURLs, and show significant improvements in differential quantum efficiency (more than 40%) under pulsed-current operation. Far-field measurements show diffraction-limited divergence up to at least 2.3 x Ith, and spectral characteristics show good control over the longitudinal mode spectrum. Finally, several modifications to the laser design and fabrication are presented to improve laser performance.
Degree ProgramGraduate College