Pollard Institute: Molecular beam epitaxial growth of terahertz quantum cascade lasers

University of Leeds


This project will focus on the molecular beam epitaxial (MBE) growth of GaAs-AlGaAs terahertz-frequency (THz) quantum cascade lasers (QCLs). Despite the many applications that would benefit from such a high-power source of THz radiation ranging from high bandwidth communications and satellite sensing through to non-destructive testing in the manufacturing sector, currently all THz QCLs need to be operated at cryogenic temperatures, which limits their exploitation.  

The project will make a step change in the take-up of terahertz technologies, working in collaboration with international partners and industry, by demonstrating Peltier-cooled THz QCL operation with high output powers, and the first-ever room temperature THz QCL. During the project, you will become an expert in the growth of semiconductor structures by MBE, as well as gaining extensive experience in device modelling, device fabrication, and electrical and optical characterisation of lasers.  

You will use the technique of MBE to grow THz QCLs, each of which has more than 1000 separate layers, patterned with atomic monolayer precision. You will perform systematic comparisons between different heterostructure designs, including investigating the effect of barrier height and doping on performance, as well as optimising the MBE growth conditions such as the substrate temperature, and III/V flux ratios. The project will be underpinned by detailed growth characterisation using techniques such as in situ flux measurements and optical pyrometry, as well as ex situ X-ray diffraction. This will ensure long-term reproducibility between different wafer growths is obtained. All material will be processed into lasers using the nanotechnology cleanroom in the University’s new Bragg Centre for Materials Research before being testing electrically and optically between 77 K (liquid nitrogen) and room temperature in the School’s terahertz laboratories. Results will be compared with simulations to enable optimisation of performance of lasers operating between 2 THz and 5 THz.

This project would suit an applicant with a good first degree in Physics, Electronic Engineering, Materials Science, or an aligned subject.  

Please ensure that you quote this research project title in full on your application – Pollard Institute: Molecular beam epitaxial growth of terahertz quantum cascade lasers.

To help us track our recruitment effort, please indicate in your email – cover/motivation letter where (nearmejobs.eu) you saw this posting.

Job Location