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Development and optimisation tensile strained multiple quantum well gain material

The optical isolator basically is a semiconductor optical amplifier with a magnetized ferromagnetic metal contact close to the amplifying waveguide core. The amplifying material must provide the material gain to overcome the loss in the metal contact to end up with transparency in the forward propagation direction (but absorption in the backward direction). As the magneto-optic Kerr effect only influences TM-polarized guided modes, high TM-selective gain material must be developed. At the same time TE-gain must be suppressed as TE-light would add noise to the signal and possibly even saturate the amplifier.

Strong TM-selective gain can be realized with tensile strained multi quantum well (MQW) material. Initially, we explored the InGaAsP/InP system, most common at 1300nm wavelength. In this system TM emitting lasers have been demonstrated. In order to achieve the very high gain levels needed for the isolator, it was opted that the AlGaInAs/InP system needed to be considered, as this material is known to have better gain properties at 1300nm. Optimisation of the number of quantum wells, the tensile strain in the wells and the compressive strain in the strain compensating barriers resulted in the demonstration of more than 100cm-1 effective internal gain for a current injection below 2.5kA/cm2.

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Alcatel Thales III-V Lab
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