Semiconductor Microlasers and Their Applications

Advances in semiconductor materials growth and processing have resulted in major progress toward semiconductor micro-lasers with ultra-low thresholds and dimensions approaching a wavelength of the emitted light. These small dimensions and low operating powers may result in large, dense arrays of light sources operating at wavelengths from the near infrared well into the visible. The materials being used are InGaAs/ InGaAsP in the wavelength range from 1.5-1 μm and the GaAs/AlGaAs for wavelengths near 0.8 μm. Arrays of these near infrared microlasers may be useful for high density, high speed optical interconnects down to the chip-to-chip level in computers or as high power phased arrays. There is also progress in visible microlasers using the InGaP/InAlGaP system and there is hope that the blue/green emitting II-VI compounds will improve in quality until they reach the regime of interest for microlasers. For many applications including displays, the sensitivity of the eye to wavelengths less than 670 nm makes arrays of visible microlasers especially interesting.

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