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Proceedings Paper

Long-term reliability study and failure analysis of quantum cascade lasers
Author(s): Feng Xie; Hong-Ky Nguyen; Herve Leblanc; Larry Hughes; Jie Wang; Dean J. Miller; Kevin Lascola
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Paper Abstract

Here we present lifetime test results of 4 groups of quantum cascade lasers (QCL) under various aging conditions including an accelerated life test. The total accumulated life time exceeds 1.5 million device·hours, which is the largest QCL reliability study ever reported. The longest single device aging time was 46.5 thousand hours (without failure) in the room temperature test. Four failures were found in a group of 19 devices subjected to the accelerated life test with a heat-sink temperature of 60 °C and a continuous-wave current of 1 A. Visual inspection of the laser facets of failed devices revealed an astonishing phenomenon, which has never been reported before, which manifested as a dark belt of an unknown substance appearing on facets. Although initially assumed to be contamination from the environment, failure analysis revealed that the dark substance is a thermally induced oxide of InP in the buried heterostructure semiinsulating layer. When the oxidized material starts to cover the core and blocks the light emission, it begins to cause the failure of QCLs in the accelerated test. An activation energy of 1.2 eV is derived from the dependence of the failure rate on laser core temperature. With the activation energy, the mean time to failure of the quantum cascade lasers operating at a current density of 5 kA/cm2 and heat-sink temperature of 25°C is expected to be 809 thousand hours.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 February 2017
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 10123, Novel In-Plane Semiconductor Lasers XVI, 101231J (20 February 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2255069
Show Author Affiliations
Feng Xie, Thorlabs Quantum Electronics (United States)
Hong-Ky Nguyen, Thorlabs Quantum Electronics (United States)
Herve Leblanc, Thorlabs Quantum Electronics (United States)
Larry Hughes, Thorlabs Quantum Electronics (United States)
Jie Wang, Argonne National Lab. (United States)
Dean J. Miller, Argonne National Lab. (United States)
Kevin Lascola, Thorlabs Quantum Electronics (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10123:
Novel In-Plane Semiconductor Lasers XVI
Alexey A. Belyanin; Peter M. Smowton, Editor(s)

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