On the coherence/incoherence of electron transport in semiconductor heterostructure optoelectronic devices

P. Harrison, D. Indjin, I. Savic, Z. Ikonic, C. A. Evans, N. Vukmirovic, R. W. Kelsall, J. McTavish, V. D. Jovanovic, V. Milanovic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper compares and contrasts different theoretical approaches based on incoherent electron scattering transport with experimental measurements of optoelectronic devices formed from semiconductor heterostructures. The Monte Carlo method which makes no a priori assumptions about the carrier distribution in momentum or phase space is compared with less computationally demanding energy-balance rate equation models which assume thermalised carrier distributions. It is shown that the two approaches produce qualitatively similar results for hole transport in p-type Si1-xGex/Si superlattices designed for terahertz emission. The good agreement of the predictions of rate equation calculations with experimental measurements of mid- and far-infrared quantum cascade lasers, quantum well infrared photodetectors and quantum dot infrared photodetectors substantiate the assumption of incoherent scattering dominating the transport in these quantum well based devices. However, the paper goes on to consider the possibility of coherent transport through the density matrix method and suggests an experiment that could allow coherent and incoherent transport to be distinguished from each other.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNovel In-Plane Semiconductor Lasers VII
EditorsAlexey A. Belyanin, Peter M. Smowton
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9780819470843
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes
EventNovel In-Plane Semiconductor Lasers VII - San Jose, United States
Duration: 21 Jan 200724 Jan 2007
Conference number: 7

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceNovel In-Plane Semiconductor Lasers VII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Jose


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