Acoustic band engineering in terahertz quantum-cascade lasers and arbitrary superlattices

Aleksandar Demić, Alexander Valavanis, Paul Dean, Lianhe Li, Giles A. Davies, Edmund H. Linfield, John E. Cunningham, James Bailey, Andrey Akimov, Anthony Kent, Paul Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present theoretical methods for the analysis of acoustic phonon modes in superlattice structures, and terahertz-frequency quantum-cascade lasers (THz QCLs). Our generalized numerical solution of the acoustic-wave equation provides good agreement with experimental pump-probe measurements of the acoustic resonances in a THz QCL. We predict that the detailed layer structure in THz QCLs imprints up to ∼2GHz detuning of the acoustic mode spacing, which cannot be seen in analytical models. This effect is strongest in devices with large and abrupt acoustic mismatch between layers. We use an acoustic deformation potential within a density-matrix approach to analyze electron transport induced in a range of the most common THz QCL active-region design schemes. We conclude that acoustic modes up to ∼200GHz are capable of significantly perturbing QCL transport, highlighting their potential for ultrafast modulation of laser emission.

Original languageEnglish
Article number235411
Number of pages14
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number23
Early online date14 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2023


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