We report on the performance of far-infrared hole inversion lasers made from germanium doped with the multivalent acceptors beryllium and copper. Commonly used hole inversion lasers are made from Czochralski-grown Ga-doped Ge single crystals and show emission from 75 to 125 and 170 to 300 μm. The emission gap between 125 and 170 μm, originating from absorption of the far-infrared light due to internal hole transitions in the neutral Ga acceptor, is absent in the new Be and Cu-doped lasers. We also find a mechanism for inversion depopulation through neutral Ga which hinders lasing at low electric fields. This same mechanism is shown to cause population inversion in the Be-doped laser and allows lasing at lower fields. This reduces the power input into the germanium crystal and has allowed us to increase the duty cycle up to 2.5% which is one order of magnitude higher than the maximum duty cycle reported for Ga-doped Ge lasers. These new lasers may offer an opportunity for achieving continuous-wave operation.
In addition we have performed preliminary studies on the effect of uniaxial stress on the lasing in these new materials. We demonstrate that small uniaxial stress increases laser action in Ge:Cu. We propose that this is due to an increased population inversion because under these conditions two separate mechanisms cause heavy holes to enter the light hole band.