Pulse Compression Photoconductive Switching Using Negative Differential Mobility

Karen Dowling, Yicong Dong, David Hall, Saptarshi Mukherjee, Joseph D. Schneider, Stefan Hau-Riege, Sara E. Harrison, Laura Leos, Adam Conway, Shaloo Rakheja, Lars Voss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work demonstrates a novel optoelectronic device with the potential for use as a high-frequency, high-power RF source or amplifier. The device is a gallium-arsenide coplanar waveguide with a small gap in the signal trace for optical illumination. A confined charge cloud is generated by illumination through an aperture in an opaque mask over this gap. An electric field above the threshold for negative differential mobility (NDM) enables pulse compression, which prevents the charge cloud from spreading temporally during the drift process. Due to the NDM phenomenon, the output electrical pulse is temporally compressed compared to the input optical pulse. This phenomenon is demonstrated using three different experiments with varied laser pulsewidth (28-700 ps) and device geometry (50- and 100- \mu \text{m} -length gaps). A 66% reduction in the full-width at half-maximum of the electrical pulse relative to the input optical pulse was demonstrated. This novel coupled optoelectronic device opens avenues for high-frequency, high-power, compact devices that could enable next-generation satellite communication systems with faster data rates and longer ranges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)590-596
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Electron Devices
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Gallium-arsenide (GaAs)
  • negative differential mobility (NDM)
  • photoconductive switch
  • pulse compression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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