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Design strategy for terahertz quantum dot cascade lasers.


The development of quantum dot cascade lasers has been proposed as a path to obtain terahertz semiconductor lasers that operate at room temperature. The expected benefit is due to the suppression of nonradiative electron-phonon scattering and reduced dephasing that accompanies discretization of the electronic energy spectrum. We present numerical modeling which predicts that simple scaling of conventional quantum well based designs to the quantum dot regime will likely fail due to electrical instability associated with high-field domain formation. A design strategy adapted for terahertz quantum dot cascade lasers is presented which avoids these problems. Counterintuitively, this involves the resonant depopulation of the laser's upper state with the LO-phonon energy. The strategy is tested theoretically using a density matrix model of transport and gain, which predicts sufficient gain for lasing at stable operating points. Finally, the effect of quantum dot size inhomogeneity on the optical lineshape is explored, suggesting that the design concept is robust to a moderate amount of statistical variation.

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