Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Maria C. Tamargo

Dr. Aidong Shen

Committee Members

Dr. Maria C. Tamargo

Dr. Igor L. Kuskovsky

Dr. Claire F. Gmachl

Dr. Vinod Menon

Dr. Swapan Gayen

Subject Categories

Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics | Engineering Physics | Optics | Quantum Physics | Semiconductor and Optical Materials


Lasers, Detectors, Quantum Cascade, Semiconductors, II-VI, Quantum Wells


The ZnCdMgSe family of II-VI materials has unique and promising characteristics that may be useful in practical applications. For example they can be grown lattice matched to InP substrates with lattice matched bandgaps that span from 2.1 to 3.5 eV, they can be successfully doped n-type, have a large conduction band offset (CBO) with no intervalley scattering present when strained, they have lower average phonon energies, and the InP lattice constant lies in the middle of the ZnSe and CdSe binaries compounds giving room to experiment with tensile and compressive stress. However they have not been studied in detail for use in practical devices.

Here we have identified two types of devices that are being currently developed that benefit from the ZnCdMgSe-based material properties. These are the intersubband (ISB) quantum cascade (QC) detectors and optically pumped semiconductor lasers that emit in the visible range. The paucity for semiconductor lasers operating in the green-orange portion of the visible spectrum can be easily overcome with the ZnCdMgSe materials system developed in our research. The non-strain limited, large CBO available allows to expand the operating wavelength of ISB devices providing shorter and longer wavelengths than the currently commercially available devices. This property can also be exploited to develop broadband room temperature operation ISB detectors.

The work presented here focused first on using the ZnCdMgSe-based material properties and parameter to understand and predict the interband and intersubband transitions of its heterostructures. We did this by studying an active region of a QC device by contactless electroreflectance, photoluminescence, FTIR transmittance and correlating the measurements to the quantum well structure by transfer matrix modeling. Then we worked on optimizing the ZnCdMgSe material heterostructures quality by studying the effects of growth interruptions on their optical and optoelectronic properties of devices. Growth interruptions improvements were evident both by sharper PL peaks on multilayer structures and by narrow and more efficient electroluminescence emission on intersubband devices. By using these techniques, and using materials lattice matched to InP, we then developed the first II-VI based QC detector with high responsivity for 3.5 and 2.5µm IR wavelengths, explored the combination of several detector cores arrangements to make a broadband IR detectors, and achieved a QC broadband detector operating from 3.3 to 6 µm also with high responsivity and high detectivity. For the visible lasers, we have successfully combined distributed Bragg reflectors (DBRs) and resonant cavity MQW structures into a single device to achieve green semiconductor disk lasers (SDL). We also investigated novel strain engineered multiple quantum wells (MQWs) using CdSe and ZnSe strained layers. This last research provided materials with shorter wavelength activity in the IR, achieving absorption as low as 2.5 µm, and visible red emission lattice matched to InP, providing new building blocks for all of the above mentioned devices. Our results demonstrate the outstanding capabilities of the material system, and provide tools and techniques for further development.


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