Tunneling Modulation of Transistor Lasers: Theory and Experiment

Milton Feng, Junyi Qiu, Nick Holonyak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The coherent photons generated at the base quantum wells in the transistor laser (TL) interact with the collector field and 'assist' electron tunneling from the valence band of the base to the conduction band states of the collector. The cavity coherent photon intensity effect on photon-assisted tunneling in the TL has resulted in the realization of a novel photon-field enhanced optical absorption. This intra-cavity photon-assisted tunneling (ICPAT) in the TL or the light-emitting transistor is the unique property of voltage (field) modulation and the basis for ultrahigh speed direct tunneling photon modulation and switching. In addition, a new tunneling current modulation gain in a 'new form' of transistor is discovered based on the collector tunneling holes feedback to the base and dielectric relaxation base transport. The TL, owing to its unique three-terminal configuration and the complementary nature of its optical and electrical collector output signals, enables fast base recombination, collector tunneling, and OEO feedback, which has resulted in the realization of compact electro-optical applications, such as non-linear signal-mixing, frequency multiplication, OE tunneling transistor, and electrical and optical bistability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2000514
JournalIEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • Transistor
  • analog and logic optoelectronic circuits
  • carrier-photon dynamics
  • current and voltage modulation
  • diode laser
  • electrical and optical bistability
  • feedback linearization
  • frequency multiplication
  • heterojunction bipolar transistor
  • microwave equivalent circuit model
  • optical switch
  • resonance-free response
  • stimulated and spontaneous recombination
  • transistor laser
  • tunnel junction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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