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Proceedings Paper

Degradation mechanisms in high-power multi-mode InGaAs-AlGaAs strained quantum well lasers for high-reliability applications
Author(s): Yongkun Sin; Nathan Presser; Miles Brodie; Zachary Lingley; Brendan Foran; Steven C. Moss
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Paper Abstract

Laser diode manufacturers perform accelerated multi-cell lifetests to estimate lifetimes of lasers using an empirical model. Since state-of-the-art laser diodes typically require a long period of latency before they degrade, significant amount of stress is applied to the lasers to generate failures in relatively short test durations. A drawback of this approach is the lack of mean-time-to-failure data under intermediate and low stress conditions, leading to uncertainty in model parameters (especially optical power and current exponent) and potential overestimation of lifetimes at usage conditions. This approach is a concern especially for satellite communication systems where high reliability is required of lasers for long-term duration in the space environment. A number of groups have studied reliability and degradation processes in GaAs-based lasers, but none of these studies have yielded a reliability model based on the physics of failure. The lack of such a model is also a concern for space applications where complete understanding of degradation mechanisms is necessary. Our present study addresses the aforementioned issues by performing long-term lifetests under low stress conditions followed by failure mode analysis (FMA) and physics of failure investigation. We performed low-stress lifetests on both MBE- and MOCVD-grown broad-area InGaAs- AlGaAs strained QW lasers under ACC (automatic current control) mode to study low-stress degradation mechanisms. Our lifetests have accumulated over 36,000 test hours and FMA is performed on failures using our angle polishing technique followed by EL. This technique allows us to identify failure types by observing dark line defects through a window introduced in backside metal contacts. We also investigated degradation mechanisms in MOCVD-grown broad-area InGaAs-AlGaAs strained QW lasers using various FMA techniques. Since it is a challenge to control defect densities during the growth of laser structures, we chose to control defect densities by introducing extrinsic point defects to the laser via proton irradiation with different energies and fluences. These lasers were subsequently lifetested to study degradation processes in the lasers with different defect densities and also to study precursor signatures of failures - traps and non-radiative recombination centers (NRCs) in pre- and post-stressed lasers. Lastly, we employed focused ion beam (FIB), electron beam induced current (EBIC), and highresolution TEM (HR-TEM) techniques to further study dark line defects and dislocations in both post-aged and postproton irradiated lasers. We report on our long-term low-stress lifetest results and physics of failure investigation results.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 March 2015
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 9348, High-Power Diode Laser Technology and Applications XIII, 93480L (13 March 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2076788
Show Author Affiliations
Yongkun Sin, The Aerospace Corp. (United States)
Nathan Presser, The Aerospace Corp. (United States)
Miles Brodie, The Aerospace Corp. (United States)
Zachary Lingley, The Aerospace Corp. (United States)
Brendan Foran, The Aerospace Corp. (United States)
Steven C. Moss, The Aerospace Corp. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9348:
High-Power Diode Laser Technology and Applications XIII
Mark S. Zediker, Editor(s)

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