Journal of Computational Electronics

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 1192–1205 | Cite as

Partially coherent electron transport in terahertz quantum cascade lasers based on a Markovian master equation for the density matrix

Article

Abstract

We derive a Markovian master equation for the single-electron density matrix, applicable to quantum cascade lasers (QCLs). The equation conserves the positivity of the density matrix, includes off-diagonal elements (coherences) as well as in-plane dynamics, and accounts for electron scattering with phonons and impurities. We use the model to simulate a terahertz-frequency QCL, and compare the results with both experiment and simulation via nonequilibrium Green’s functions (NEGF). We obtain very good agreement with both experiment and NEGF when the QCL is biased for optimal lasing. For the considered device, we show that the magnitude of coherences can be a significant fraction of the diagonal matrix elements, which demonstrates their importance when describing THz QCLs. We show that the in-plane energy distribution can deviate far from a heated Maxwellian distribution, which suggests that the assumption of thermalized subbands in simplified density-matrix models is inadequate. We also show that the current density and subband occupations relax toward their steady-state values on very different time scales.

Keywords

QCL Superlattice Quantum transport Dissipation Density matrix Phonons Terahertz 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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