Semiconductor diode technology will someday offer compact, robust, and inexpensive mid-IR sources that are ideal for spectroscopy and chemical sensing applications. The main reason that this has not occurred already is that current cw or quasi-cw mid-IR semiconductor lasers require cryogenic cooling. Before now, no III-V laser emitting beyond 3 µm had achieved cw operation above 180 K, and even for pulsed mode theTmax for electrically-pumped interband devices was 255 K. Here we will discuss the rapid recent progress by type-II antimonide lasers toward the goal of higher operating temperatures, and also higher cw output power in the mid-IR.

© 2000 Optical Society of America

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