Index of content:
Volume 109, Issue 8, 15 April 2011
This review focuses on recent progress on injectorless quantum cascade lasers, an increasingly attractive approach in comparison to the “classical” injectorbased concepts. This particularly holds for the wavelength range between 7 and 12 μm, where fundamental vibrational modes of many important molecules exist, so that sensor systems for medical, industrial and military applications highly benefit from these laser sources. The atmospheric transmission window between 8 and 12 μm, with very low damping, also enables free space applications like communication, military countermeasures, and environmental sensors. Injectorless devices operate closer to the original design principle for intersubband lasers as suggested by Suris and Kazarinov [Sov. Phys. Semicond. 5, 707 (1971)]. Therefore, a short description of their features is given in comparison to injectorbased devices. Within recent years, injectorless devices have seen rapid improvement in performance. Best injectorless devices reach threshold current densities of 450 A/cm2 at 300 K, a factor of 1.6 smaller than that for the best injectorbased devices. Their output efficiency has also increased from 2% to more than 7% within the last 2 years, reaching comparable levels and making the injectorless device concept competitive and very attractive for applications.