LETI: LETI’s Young Researchers Participated in the Development of New Materials for Compact Lasers

In the last decade, advances in the technology for growing multilayer structures of various semiconductor materials (heterostructures) have led to the widespread introduction of high-power semiconductor lasers into various areas, from mechanical engineering and material processing to medicine and energy. The advantages of such devices include high reliability and energy efficiency. However, the existing technologies and approaches to the production of high-power semiconductor lasers and systems based on them have reached the limit in terms of radiated power if maintaining the compactness and energy efficiency of the laser system as a whole. Therefore, further development of high-power semiconductor lasers requires the development of new methods of obtaining heterostructures.

One widespread method for creating such materials is vapor-phase epitaxy, a controlled and high-precision process for creating heterostructures.

“One of the directions of our project is related to increasing the brightness and efficiency of high-power semiconductor lasers. It is based on the technology of selective multistage epitaxy of semiconductor nanoheterostructures that we are developing. The key problem it solves is controlling the properties of the multilayer structures not only in the direction but also the plane of the growth.”

The research team was the first to describe the patterns of changes in the spatial organization of materials during selective epitaxy. The developed methods entirely cover the process of creating laser systems, from growing heterostructures to manufacturing laser system components (lasers, switches, etc.). At the same time, scientists are studying the optical and electrical characteristics of the obtained nanoheterostructures.

“The methods we propose make it possible to grow nanoheterostructures with higher optical properties compared to existing analogs. The device prototypes created based on these materials are very compact: they can be placed on a chip. Today such lasers are relevant both for Russian and international manufacturers of advanced autonomous transport systems. For example, driverless cars need laser radars (lidars) for spatial orientation,” explains Ilya Shushkanov, a master’s student at the Branch Department of Optoelectronics at LETI, a lab technician at Ioffe Institute.

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