Mechanical construction of semiconductor band gaps

Jan D. Makowski, Brady D. Anderson, Wing S. Chang, Mika J. Saarinen, Christopher J. Palmstrøm, Joseph J. Talghader

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5 Scopus citations


Mechanical position is used to control the wavelength of light emission of semiconductor heterostructures. The heterostructures are coupled across a gap that varies with position to tune electron states in much the same manner that optical cavities can be coupled across a tunable reflectivity mirror to control photon states. In the experiments, a SixN/InP cantilever containing an InGaAs surface well collapses over another InGaAs quantum well. The spacing between the wells varies along the cantilever, such that the heterostructure band gap is determined by the mechanical bending of the cantilever. Photoluminescence measurements of the coupled 200°A surface wells show a wavelength shift of up to 22 nm. Associated theory shows that mechanical quantum coupling enables interband or intersubband devices with unprecedented spectral tuning ranges for gain or absorption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5518520
Pages (from-to)1261-1267
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Manuscript received November 27, 2009; revised March 10, 2010; accepted March 22, 2010. Date of current version July 23, 2010. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation, under Grant ECCS 0 702 515. The work of J. D. Makowski was funded by the University of Minnesota, under the Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship Program. The work of M. J. Saarinen was supported by the the Academy of Finland, under Project 119 915. Some parts of this work have been previously published in [1] and [2].


  • Microelectromechanical devices
  • photoluminescence (PL)
  • quantum effect semiconductor devices
  • quantum well devices


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