Simulation Study of Epitaxially Regrown Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Lasers

University essay from KTH/Skolan för informations- och kommunikationsteknik (ICT)


The vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser or VCSEL is a special type of diode laser, which has established itself in optoelectronic applications asa low-cost, high-quality miniaturized light source. The development of VCSELs can be largely promoted with support from computer simulations. In this study, we have used such simulations, on one hand to understand and improve the VCSEL performance, and on the other hand to prepare for analyzing new device concepts such as transistor-VCSELs.

This thesis starts with a background introduction to the principle idea of VCSELs and then states the significance of this simulation work.Then it briefly introduces the previously used simulation workbench Sentaurus and explains the mathematical approach and the computation methods of the finally chosen simulator PICS3D. The case study of a fabricated and characterized epitaxially regrown VCSEL is the major component of this work. First the device configuration is demonstrated with detailed discussion on several design features. Second the physical models of electrical, optical and thermal phenomena along with their key parameters are presented and so are the advanced models for the active region. The main results of simulation, including steady-state characteristics and small-signal modulation, show good agreement with the experimental results and reveal some imperfections of the device design and processing, such as the overestimated stability of the regrown junction and the variation of cavity length caused by over-etch.

This work is also treated as an evaluation of the simulator PICS3D, and two problems are identified: one is the troublesome way to construct a 3D device by coupling several 2D layer structures together, requiring the mesh for each layer structure to be compatible; the other would be the tricky boundary setting for the adopted method, Effective Index Method (EIM), for the transverse field calculation when only a weak index guiding effect exits in the cavity. Finally, we summarize this work and suggest some tasks for further simulations.

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