High-quality GaAs-based quantum cascade laser (QCL) structures for the terahertz (THz) emission have been grown by solid source molecular-beam epitaxy. Ex-situ high-resolution x-ray diffraction shows that layer thickness and its control is the most critical growth aspect and that the lasing potential of the structure can be determined by the thickness accuracy of the layers. For our samples, the thickness tolerance for working lasing structures emitting approximately 100 μm was determined to be minimally above 1% for a 15 μm active region which was composed of 54.6 nm cascade cells. Increasing interface roughness adversely affects the lasing threshold and power.
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