Acousto-optic modulation of III-V semiconductor multiple quantum wells

D. Smith, Sh M. Kogan, P. Ruden

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8 Scopus citations


We present an analysis of the effect of surface acoustic waves (SAW’s) on the optical properties of III-V semiconductor multiple quantum wells (MQW’s). Modulation spectra at the fundamental and second harmonic of the SAW frequency are presented. The SAW modulates the optical properties of the MQW primarily by changing optical transition energies. The SAW generates both strains, which modulate the transition energies by deformation potential effects, and electric fields, which modulate the transition energies by the quantum confined Stark effect. We find that modulation of the transition energies by strain effects is usually more important than by electric-field effects. If large static electric fields occur in the MQW, the SAW-generated electric field can mix with the static field to give optical modulation, which is comparable in magnitude to modulation from the deformation potential effect. If there are no large static electric fields, modulation by the SAW-generated fields is negligible. A large static electric field distributes oscillator strength among the various optical transitions so that no single transition is as strong as the primary allowed transitions without a static electric field. To achieve the maximum modulation for fixed SAW parameters, it is best to modulate a strong optical transition. Thus optimum modulation occurs when there are no large static electric fields present and that modulation is primarily from deformation potential effects. We specifically consider (Formula presented)(Formula presented)As/(Formula presented)(Formula presented)As MQW’s grown on (100) and (111) oriented substrates, but our general conclusions apply to other type I MQW’s fabricated from III-V semiconductors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1421-1428
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

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