An aluminum gallium indium arsenic (AlGaInAs) material system is indispensable as the active layer of diode lasers emitting at 1310 or 1550 nm, which are used in optical fiber communications. However, the course of the high-temperature instability of a quantum well structure, which is closely related to the diffusion of indium atoms, is still not clear due to the system’s complexity. The diffusion process of indium atoms was simulated by thermal treatment, and the changes in the optical and structural properties of an AlGaInAs quantum well are investigated in this paper. Compressive strained Al0.07
As quantum wells were treated at 170 °C with different heat durations. A significant decrement of photoluminescence decay time was observed on the quantum well of a sample that was annealed after 4 h. The microscopic cathodoluminescent (CL) spectra of these quantum wells were measured by scanning electron microscope-cathodoluminescence (SEM-CL). The thermal treatment effect on quantum wells was characterized via CL emission peak wavelength and energy density distribution, which were obtained by spatially resolved cathodoluminescence. The defect area was clearly observed in the Al0.07
As quantum wells layer after thermal treatment. CL emissions from the defect core have higher emission energy than those from the defect-free regions. The defect core distribution, which was associated with indium segregation gradient distribution, showed asymmetric character.
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