Nonpolar III-nitride vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser with a photoelectrochemically etched air-gap aperture

J. T. Leonard, B. P. Yonkee, D. A. Cohen, L. Megalini, S. Lee, J. S. Speck, S. P. DenBaars, S. Nakamura

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39 Scopus citations


We demonstrate a III-nitride nonpolar vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) with a photoelectrochemically (PEC) etched aperture. The PEC lateral undercut etch is used to selectively remove the multi-quantum well (MQW) region outside the aperture area, defined by an opaque metal mask. This PEC aperture (PECA) creates an air-gap in the passive area of the device, allowing one to achieve efficient electrical confinement within the aperture, while simultaneously achieving a large index contrast between core of the device (the MQW within the aperture) and the lateral cladding of the device (the air-gap formed by the PEC etch), leading to strong lateral confinement. Scanning electron microscopy and focused ion-beam analysis is used to investigate the precision of the PEC etch technique in defining the aperture. The fabricated single mode PECA VCSEL shows a threshold current density of ∼22 kA/cm2 (25 mA), with a peak output power of ∼180 μW, at an emission wavelength of 417 nm. The near-field emission profile shows a clearly defined single linearly polarized (LP) mode profile (LP12,1), which is in contrast to the filamentary lasing that is often observed in III-nitride VCSELs. 2D mode profile simulations, carried out using COMSOL, give insight into the different mode profiles that one would expect to be displayed in such a device. The experimentally observed single mode operation is proposed to be predominantly a result of poor current spreading in the device. This non-uniform current spreading results in a higher injected current at the periphery of the aperture, which favors LP modes with high intensities near the edge of the aperture.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)031111
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 18 2016
Externally publishedYes


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