Quantum cascade lasers are promising mid-infrared semiconductor light sources for molecular detection in applications such as environmental sensing or medical diagnostics. For such applications, researchers have been striving to improve device performance. Recently, improvements in wall plug efficiency have been pursued with a view to realizing compact, portable, power-efficient and high-power quantum cascade laser systems. However, advances have largely been incremental, and the basic quantum design has remained unchanged for many years, with the wall plug efficiency yet to reach above 35%. A crucial factor in quantum cascade laser performance is the efficient transport of electrons into the laser active regions. We recently theoretically described this transport process as limited by the interface-roughness-induced detuning of resonant tunnelling. Here, we report that an ultrastrong coupling design strategy overcomes this limiting factor and leads to the experimental realization of quantum cascade lasers with 40-50% wall plug efficiency when operated in pulsed mode at temperatures of 160K or lower.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics