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Proceedings Paper

Degradation processes in high power multi-mode InGaAs strained quantum well lasers
Author(s): Yongkun Sin; Nathan Presser; Brendan Foran; Steven C. Moss
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Paper Abstract

Recently, broad-area InGaAs-AlGaAs strained quantum well (QW) lasers have attracted much attention because of their unparalleled high optical output power characteristics that narrow stripe lasers or tapered lasers can not achieve. However, broad-area lasers suffer from poor beam quality and their high reliability operation has not been proven for communications applications. This paper concerns reliability and degradation aspects of broad-area lasers. Good facet passivation techniques along with optimized structural designs have led to successful demonstration of reliable 980nm single-mode lasers, and the dominant failure mode of both single-mode and broadarea lasers is catastrophic optical mirror damage (COMD), which limits maximum output powers and also determines operating output powers. Although broad-area lasers have shown characteristics unseen from singlemode lasers including filamentation, their effects on long-term reliability and degradation processes have not been fully investigated. Filamentation can lead to instantaneous increase in optical power density and thus temperature rise at localized areas through spatial-hole burning and thermal lensing which significantly reduces filament sizes under high power operation, enhancing the COMD process. We investigated degradation processes in commercial MOCVD-grown broad-area InGaAs-AlGaAs strained QW lasers at ~975nm with and without passivation layers by performing accelerated lifetests of these devices followed by failure mode analyses with various micro-analytical techniques. Since instantaneous fluctuations of filaments can lead to faster wear-out of passivation layer thus leading to facet degradation, both passivated and unpassivated broad-area lasers were studied that yielded catastrophic failures at the front facet and also in the bulk. Electron beam induced current technique was employed to study dark line defects (DLDs) generated in degraded lasers stressed under different test conditions and focused ion beam was employed to prepare TEM samples from the DLD areas for HR-TEM analysis. We report our in-depth failure mode analysis results.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 February 2009
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7230, Novel In-Plane Semiconductor Lasers VIII, 72300Y (3 February 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.814661
Show Author Affiliations
Yongkun Sin, The Aerospace Corp. (United States)
Nathan Presser, 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. 7230:
Novel In-Plane Semiconductor Lasers VIII
Alexey A. Belyanin; Peter M. Smowton, Editor(s)

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