Optical properties of asymmetric double quantum wells and optimization for optical modulators
Kim, Dong Kwon
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Optical electroabsorption modulators (EAMs) that utilize quantum wells (QWs) are known to exhibit high modulation sensitivity, which is required for the analog optical fiber link application, compared to other types of optical modulators. QW-EAMs utilize the change of absorption coefficients that depends on the change of electric field across the QW for the optical intensity modulation. This dissertation focuses on the theoretical analysis of the optical properties of asymmetric double QWs (ADQWs) and the systematic optimization of modulation sensitivity in low-voltage EAMs that incorporate ADQWs. In this structure, the accurate calculation of excitons is especially important because the excitonic as well as the band-to-band optical transitions dominate the optical properties at the operating wavelength. The complex linear optical susceptibility was calculated within the density matrix approach in the quasi-equilibrium regime for the low excitation power and through a thorough treatment of line broadening. Transition strengths were calculated in the wavevector space, which effectively includes valence subband mixing with the warping of the subbands, excitonic mixing effects, and possible optical selection rules (e.g., light polarization, spin of excitons). The calculated transmission properties of the waveguide EAMs were almost identical to the experimental data at the device operating bias range. The mixing of excitons in ADQWs was analyzed in detail in momentum space, which was demonstrated to be very important in the process of structural optimization of ADQWs. The optimization of the structural parameters revealed that at an adequate barrier position and well width, the barrier thickness affects the modulation efficiency the most. Subsequently, in InGaAsP-based waveguide type QW-EAMs that operate at 1550 nm, the optimization of only one variable the thickness of the coupling barrier of the ADQWs shows 380 % enhancement in the modulation sensitivity at a much lower bias field (70->35 kV/cm) compared with that of single-QW structures. This enhancement is found to be caused by the strong mixing of the two exciton states originating in different subband pairs.