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Robust Density Matrix Simulation of Terahertz Quantum Cascade Lasers

  • Author(s): Burnett, BA
  • Pan, A
  • Chui, CO
  • Williams, BS
  • et al.
Abstract

© 2018 IEEE. A common setback to electron transport models for quantum cascade laser active regions is the inability to freely simulate widely varying designs. One solution to this problem is to use a density matrix formalism with a generalized treatment of scattering, wherein the well-defined energy eigenbasis is used, and the relative simplicity of the density matrix can be taken advantage of for rapid simulations. We have developed such a model from first principles in the past, and now built a simulator for terahertz quantum cascade lasers that calculates a fully self-consistent solution to the coupled problem of bandstructure, lasing field strength, and space charge. This level of depth enables us to examine the model's performance across much of the design space and operating temperatures, for which we find generally good agreement. Areas for future improvement of the model are discussed, particularly the treatment of electron-electron scattering and continuum leakage. The model also enables us to make qualitative insights into the microscopic workings of the active regions, such as the nonequilibrium subband distributions and their response to the optical field, and the possibility for using two sequential optical transitions.

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