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Optimising "Quantum Well Intermixing" Geometry for High-power Semiconductor Lasers

High-brightness (high power in a narrow well directed beam) semiconductor lasers are in high demand for laser printers, laser surgery, and various other applications in industry and medicine. Our collaborators, Intense Ltd and the University of Glasgow, have developed an ingenious processing technique known as quantum well intermixing, which harnesses the properties of the semiconductor material to integrate active and passive optical elements smoothly and monolithically on the same substrate. In the context of high-brightness lasers, this allows the optical beam to diverge in passive sections, alleviating the nonlinearities that lead to its deterioration in active ones. We have developed a theoretical model that helps optimise the geometry of active and passive parts of the laser, and are currently working on the design that will combine efficient performance with high fabrication tolerance. The results agree well with the experimental behaviour of existing devices; more experimental and theoretical work is pending.

Work has been in collaboration with Dr D Yanson of Intense Ltd, Glasgow.