Investigation of Lasing in Highly Strained Germanium at the Crossover to Direct Band Gap
preprintposted on 2023-06-08, 12:52 authored by Francesco Armand Pilon, Yann-Michel Niquet, Jeremie Chretien, Nicolas Pauc, Vincent Reboud, Vincent Calvo, Julie Widiez, Jean Michel Hartmann, Alexei Chelnokov, Jerome Faist, Hans Sigg
Efficient and cost-effective Si-compatible lasers are a long standing wish of the optoelectronic industry. In principle, there are two options. For many applications, lasers based on III-V compounds provide compelling solutions, even if the integration is complex and therefore costly. However, where low costs and also high integration density are crucial, group-IV-based lasers - made of Ge and GeSn, for example - could be an alternative, provided their performance can be improved. Such progresses will come with better materials but also with the development of a profounder understanding of their optical properties. In this work, we demonstrate, using Ge microbridges with strain up to 6.6%, a powerful method for determining the population inversion gain and the material and optical losses of group IV lasers. This is made by deriving the values for the injection carrier densities and the cavity losses from the measurement of the change of the refractive index and the mode linewidth, respectively. We observe a laser threshold consistent with optical gain and material loss values obtained from a tight binding calculation. Lasing in Ge - at steady-state - is found to be limited to low temperatures in a narrow regime of tensile strain at the crossover to the direct band gap bandstructure. We explain this observation by parasitic intervalence band absorption that increases rapidly with higher injection densities and temperature. N-doping seems to reduce the material loss at low excitation but does not extend the lasing regime. We also discuss the impact of the optically inactive carriers in the L-valley on the linewidth of group IV lasers.