Quantum‐well lasers for direct solar photopumping

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Journal of Applied Physics, ISSN: 0021-8979, Vol: 74, Issue: 6, Page: 4221-4228

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Sreenath Unnikrishnan; Neal G. Anderson
AIP Publishing
Physics and Astronomy
article description
Semiconductor lasers directly photopumped by focused sunlight may be viable sources of coherent light for intersatellite communications and other low-power spaceborne applications. In this work, we theoretically explore the possibility of realizing such devices. We specifically assess solar pumped operation of separate-confinement-quantum-well heterostructure (SCQWH) lasers based on InGaAs, GaAs, and AlGaAs, as fabrication technology for these lasers is mature and they can operate at very low thresholds. We develop a model for step-index single-well SCQWH lasers photopumped by sunlight, examine how threshold solar photoexcitation intensities (or solar magnification requirements) depend upon material and structure parameters, design optimum structures for solar-pumped operation, and identify design trade offs. Our results suggest that laser action should be possible in properly designed structures at readily achievable solar concentrations (10-10suns under air-mass-zero conditions), and that optimum designs for solar-pumped SCQWH lasers differ significantly from those for analogous current injection devices.