Finite difference time domain simulation of subpicosecond semiconductor optical devices

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Virginia Tech


An efficient numerical method to simulate a subpicosecond semiconductor optical switch is developed in this research. The problem under studying involves both electromagnetic wave propagation and semiconductor dynamic transport, which is a nonlinear phenomenon. Finite difference time domain (FDTD) technique is used to approximate the time dependent Maxwell's equations for full-wave analysis of the wave propagation. The dynamic transport is handled by solving the balance equations using the energy and momentum relaxation time approximation. Based on the structure of the device, a physical semi-analytical model is also developed for preliminary analysis. Simulation results in the device's subpicosecond responses including nonlinearity and overshoot. The validity of the method is verified by comparing the simulation with the published experimental results. The method can be extended to other devices as well.