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ABSTRACT: The introduction of the photonic crystal (PhC) wavelength-scale cavity as a laser cavity enables us to obtain both ultralow threshold current and operating energy. These parameters are essential when using the transmitters in chip-to-chip and on-chip interconnections. To improve the device performance, we employ an ultracompact embedded active region that we call a lambda-scale embedded active-region PhC laser or LEAP laser. We have developed an electrically driven LEAP laser, which operates under room-temperature continuous-wave conditions. To fabricate the electrically driven LEAP laser, we used Zn thermal diffusion and Si ion implantation, respectively, for p-type and n-type doping in an undoped InP layer. However, with previous fabricated devices there was a large leakage current through the substrate and the threshold current was 0.39 mA, which is larger than the expected threshold obtained by optical pumping. To reduce the leakage current, we propose using an InAlAs sacrificial laser instead of an InGaAs layer. The leakage current path through the substrate is effectively suppressed, and as a result, the threshold current is reduced to 7.8 μA, which is the lowest threshold current reported for any laser. Furthermore, the LEAP laser operates at up to 95 °C by using an InGaAlAs-based multiple quantum well structure. We also describe the dynamic characteristics of the laser. The LEAP laser exhibits a maximum 3-dB bandwidth of 16.2 GHz and the modulation current efficiency factor is 53.8 GHz/mA0.5 or 1.7 GHz/μA0.5, which is four times that of a vertical cavity surface-emitting laser. The device is directly modulated by a 12.5-Gb/s nonreturn-to-zero signal with a bias voltage of 1.6 V and a bias current of 109 μA, resulting in an energy cost of 14.0 fJ/b. This is the smallest operating energy for any laser. These results indicate that the LEAP laser is highly suitable for use as a transmitter in computercom app- ications.
IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics 01/2013; 19(4):4900311-4900311. · 4.08 Impact Factor