Characterization and comparison of GaAs/AlGaAs uni-traveling carrier and separated-transport-recombination photodiode based high-power sub-THz photonic transmitters

Yu Tai Li*, Jin Wei Shi, C. Y. Huang, Nan Wei Chen, Shu Han Chen, Jen Inn Chyi, Yi Chao Wang, Chan Shan Yang, Ci Ling Pan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


We describe in detail the characterization of two high-power photonic transmitters based on two different kinds of high-power photodiodes, one a GaAs/AlGaAs based uni-traveling-carrier photodiode (UTC-PD) and the other a separated- transport-recombination photodiode (STR-PD). The diodes operate under optical pulse excitation at the 800 nm wavelength. Both PDs have the same total depletion layer thickness (same theoretical RC-limited bandwidth) and are monolithically integrated with the same broadband micro-machined circular disk monopole antennas to radiate strong sub-THz pulses. However the STR-PD based transmitter exhibits very different dynamic and static performance from that of the UTC-PD based transmitter due to the existence of a low-temperature-grown GaAs (LTG-GaAs) based recombination center inside the active region, and the much thinner thickness of effective depletion layer. Under optical pulse excitation (480 pJ/pulse), the STR-PD based transmitter exhibits a much lower maximum averaged output photocurrent (1.2 mA versus 0.3 mA) than that of the UTC-PD transmitter, although the radiated electrical pulse-width and maximum peak-power, which are measured by the same THz time-domain spectroscopic (TDS) system, of both devices are comparable. These results indicate that although the recombination center in the STR-PD degrades its DC responsivity, it effectively improves the high-speed and output power performance of the device and eliminates the DC component of the photocurrent, which should minimize device-heating problem during high-power operation. The radiated waveforms of both devices under intense optical pulse illumination also exhibit excellent linearity and strong bias dependent magnitude. This suggests their suitability for application as photonic emitters and possibly as a data modulator in sub-THz impulse-radio communication systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5346606
Pages (from-to)19-27
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • High-power photodiode
  • Photonic transmitter
  • Separated-transport recombination photo-diode (STR-PD)
  • Submillimeter-wave
  • Terahertz (THz)
  • Uni-traveling carrier photodiode (UTC-PD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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