Efficient prediction of terahertz quantum cascade laser dynamics from steady-state simulations

G. Agnew, A. Grier, T. Taimre, Y. L. Lim, M. Nikolić, A. Valavanis, J. Cooper, P. Dean, S. P. Khanna, M. Lachab, E. H. Linfield, A. G. Davies, P. Harrison, Z. Ikonić, D. Indjin, A. D. Rakić

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Terahertz-frequency quantum cascade lasers (THz QCLs) based on bound-to-continuum active regions are difficult to model owing to their large number of quantum states. We present a computationally efficient reduced rate equation (RE) model that reproduces the experimentally observed variation of THz power with respect to drive current and heat-sink temperature. We also present dynamic (time-domain) simulations under a range of drive currents and predict an increase in modulation bandwidth as the current approaches the peak of the light-current curve, as observed experimentally in mid-infrared QCLs. We account for temperature and bias dependence of the carrier lifetimes, gain, and injection efficiency, calculated from a full rate equation model. The temperature dependence of the simulated threshold current, emitted power, and cut-off current are thus all reproduced accurately with only one fitting parameter, the interface roughness, in the full REs. We propose that the model could therefore be used for rapid dynamical simulation of QCL designs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number161105
Number of pages4
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


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