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Advantages over the edge-emitting lasers: Its design allows the chips to be manufactured and tested on a single wafer. Large arrays of devices can be created exploiting methods such as 'flip' chip optical interconnects optical neural network applications to become possible. In the telecommunications industry, the VCSEL's uniform, single mode beam profile is desirable for coupling into optical fibres. The cavity length of VCSELs is very short typically 1-3 wavelengths of the emitted light. As a result, in a single pass of the cavity, a photon has a small chance of a triggering a stimulated emission event at low carrier densities. Therefore, VCSELs require highly reflective mirrors to be efficient. For VCSELs, the reflectivity required for low threshold currents is greater than 99.9%. Such a high reflectivtiy can not be acheived by the use of metalic mirrors. VCSELs make use Distributed Bragg Reflectors. (DBRs). These are formed by laying down alternating layers of semiconductor or dielectric materials with a difference in refractive index.
To be useful in fiber transmission applications an LED must have 1. These LEDs require less complex drive circuitry than laser diodes since no thermal or optical stabilization circuits are needed.Light Emitting Diode For optical communication systems requiring bit rates less than approximately 100200 Mb/s together with multimode fiber-coupled optical power in the tens of microwatts. carrier confinement is used to achieve a high level of radiative recombination in the active region of the device. A high quantum efficiency . Optical confinement is of important for preventing absorption of the emitted radiation by the material surrounding the pn junction. A high radiance (or brightness). and they can be fabricated less expensively with higher yields. A fast response time . 2. semiconductor light emitting diodes (LEDs) are usually the best light source choice. which yields a high quantum efficiency.a measure in watts. . 3. of the power radiated into a unit solid angle per unit area of the emitting surface. This dual confinement leads to both high efficiency and high radiance.the fraction of injected electron-hole pairs that recombine radiatively. LED structures The two basic LED configuration being used for fiber optics are surface emitters (also called Burrus or front emitters) and edge emitters. In a heterostructure LED.the time delay between the application of a current pulse and the onset of optical emission.
Surface Emitter LED (SLED) In the surface emitter. The power coupled Pc into a multimode step index fiber may be estimated from the relationship . The power coupled into the fiber is also dependent on other factors such as the distance and alignment between the emission area and the fiber. the SLED emission pattern and the medium between the emitting area and the fiber. The circular active area in practical surface emitters is nominally 50µm in diameter and up to 2. but the power diminishes as cosθ. into which a fiber is then cemented in order to accept the emitted light. In this pattern. The emission pattern is essentially isotropic with a 1200 half-power beam width and is called a lambertian pattern. where r is the Fresnel reflection coefficient at the fiber surface. . Normally. the source is equally bright when viewed from any direction. a well is etched through the substrate of the device.5mm thick. the plane of the active light-emitting region is oriented perpendicularly to the axis of the fiber. θ is the angle between the viewing direction and the normal to the surface. A is the smaller of the fiber core cross section or the emission area of the source and RD is the radiance of the source.
In the plane parallel to the junction. where there is no waveguide effect. the half-power beam width has been made as small as 25-350 by a proper choice of the waveguide thickness. This structure forms a waveguide channel that directs the optical radiation toward the fiber core.Edge emitter LED (ELED) The high radiance ELED used in optical communications is similar to a conventional contact stripe injection laser. The emission pattern of this ELED is more directional than that of the SLED. Most of the propagation light is emitted at one end face only due to a reflector on the other end face and an antireflection coating on the emitting end face. the emitted beam is lambertian with half-power width of . In the plane perpendicular to the junction. .
and that both devices are reasonably linear at moderate drive currents. .LED Optical output power Intrinsically the LED is a very linear device in comparison with the majority of injection lasers and hence it tends to be more suitable for analog transmission. The surface emitter radiates significantly more optical power into air than the edge emitter.
Typical spectral output characteristics for InGaAsP devices.1 and 0. The output spectra tends to broaden at a rate of between 0.3 nm0C-1 with increase in temperature due to the greater energy spread in carrier distributions at higher temperatures. The output spectral widths of SLEDs tend to be broader than those of edge-emitting LEDs because of different internal-absorption effects.7mm wavelength region the linewidth tends to increase to around 50 to 160nm. The peak emission wavelength is also shifted by +0.3 to 0.8 to 0. .4nm0C-1 for AlGaAs devices and by +0.6nm0C-1 for InGaAsP devices. For materials with smaller bandgap energies operating in the 1.Output spectrum The spectral linewidth of an LED operating at room temperature in the 0.1 to 1.9 mm wavelength band is usually between 25 and 40nm at the half maximum intensity points (FWHP).
Carrier Recombination in LED Reliance on spontaneous emission allows nonradiative recombination to take place within the LED structure due to crystalline imperfections and impurities. and the Auger process in which the energy released during an electron-hole recombination is transferred to another carrier in the form of kinetic energy. LEDs having double-heterojunction structures can have quantum efficiencies of 60-80%. the internal quantum efficiency is about 50% for simple homojunction LEDs. carrier recombination at the heterostructure interfaces. The excess density of electrons Dn and holes Dp is equal since the injected carriers are created and recombined in pairs such that charge neutrality is maintained within the structure. The total rate at which carriers are generated will be where d is the thickness of the recombination region. externally supplied thermal generation rates. respectively is created by carrier injection at the device contacts. In general. an equilibrium condition is established and gives the steady state electron density For the exponential decay of excess carriers. When LED is forward biased. . When there is a constant current flow into the junction diode.and n-type material. Thus. minority carrier of electrons and holes in p. Nonradiative recombination include optical absorption in the active region (self-absorption).τr and τnr are comparable for direct-band-gap semiconductors. the radiative recombination lifetime is the nonradiative recombination lifetime is Generally. the excess minority carrier density decays exponentially with time t according to the relation: where n0 is the initial injected excess electron density and t is the carrier recombination lifetime. such as GaAlAs and InGaAsP.
then the total number of recombination per . Since Rr is the total second is Rr + Rnr = I / q and rearrange to give number of photons generated per second and that each photon has an energy of hv. the power generated internally by the LED is Note that a linear relationship between the optical power generated in LED and the drive current into the device.Internal Quantum Efficiency is defined as the ratio of the radiative recombination rate to the total recombination rate: where τ is the bulk recombination lifetime. is defined as the ratio of the photons emitted from the LED to the number of internally generated photons. If the current injected into the LED is I. External Quantum Efficiency . Optical power emitted Pe into a medium of low reflective index n2 from the face of planar LED fabricated from a material of reflactive index n1 is given approximately by where F is the transmission factor of the semiconductor-external interface. Only light falling within a cone defined by the critical angle where will be emitted from an optical source. .
The parasitic capacitance can cause a delay of the carrier injection into the active region and thus delay the optical output. 2. However. This is the electrical 3-dB point. Under this condition. the modulation response is limited only by the carrier recombination time. In optical terms. The doping level in the active region. the detected current is directly proportional to the optical power. If the drive current is modulated at a frequency ω. this delay is negligible if a small. p(ω) has dropped to half its constant value resulting from the modulated portion of the optical signal. The modulation bandwidth of an LED is defined as the point where the electrical signal power. The parasitic capacitance of the LED. constant forward bias is applied to the diode. 3. The injected carrier lifetime τi in the recombination region. the power of the device will vary as where P0 is the power emitted at zero modulation frequency.Modulation of an LED The frequency response of an LED is largely determined by the following three factors: 1. thus .