Date of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Supervisor

Weiping Huang

Language

English

Abstract

Semiconductor laser diode has been a popular research topic for longer than half a century and plays a crucial role in optical communication systems. The work in this thesis focuses on the development of the semiconductor laser diode with rapid-evolving nanotechnologies: by incorporating specific semiconductor or metal structures in the nanometer scale into the laser cavity, several key advantages are achieved.

One category of the nano-materials is semiconductor quantum dots (QD). QD laser is a promising product by providing three-dimensional confinement to the injected electrons and holes. However, in order to realize the single-longitudinal-mode operation, which is critical to optical communications in purpose of reducing the dispersion and partition noise, the Fabry-Perot (FP) QD laser still needs further development to suppress the gain-broadening effects; otherwise the mode-selective structure must be adopted, such as the distributed feedback (DFB) cavity. In this thesis, the QD FP laser and QD DFB laser are both researched by advanced modelling techniques and the work is summarized as follows.

1) For the QD FP laser, a comprehensive rate-equation model has been applied for simulation, with the emphasis on describing the interplay of inhomogeneous and homogeneous gain-broadening effects. According to the laser-behaviour simulations, it is found that for each given inhomogeneous broadening, the optimum homogeneous broadening can be obtained for the single longitudinal-mode selectivity. Based on the optimal gain-broadening parameters, the single-mode QD FP laser is designed and analysed. The quantitative conditions for the performance feasibility are examined with respect to the gain-broadening parameters.

2) A one-dimensional (1D) standing wave model is developed for the QD DFB laser. This model can provide more information for the laser operation and better describe the dynamic behaviour compared with the rate-equation model. Based on it, the statistic operation and output spectrum of a typical QD DFB laser are simulated; and then the dynamic properties of the laser are analysed.

The other category is the metal nano-structure, including the metal nano-particle and the metal nano-strip Bragg grating. The related work is summarized as follows.

1) The optical properties of a single metal nano-particle with different size, composition and shape are researched by Mie theory, with respect to the localized surface plasmon polariton (LSPP) effect. It shows that both the resonance wavelength and Q-factor can be tuned in a large scale by proper methods.

2) A novel metal nano-strip distributed Bragg grating (DBR) laser is proposed and investigated theoretically. Firstly the metal nano-strip Bragg grating is simulated by the couple-mode theory and the mode-matching method. It shows that the coupling constant and reflection spectrum can be tuned to meet different requirements when varying the grating parameters. Then for the designed metal-grating DBR laser, the rate-equation simulation results show that it works under the single-mode operation for a broad range of the design parameters.

McMaster University Library

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