A set of effective Bloch equations is established for semiconductor bulk or quantum-well media. The model includes the nonlinear carrier-density dependence of the gain and refractive index and their respective dispersions (frequency dependences). A comparative study is performed between the full microscopic semiconductor Bloch equations and this effective model for pulse propagation to show the range of validity of the present model. The results show that this model agrees well with the microscopic model provided carrier depletion is the dominant saturation mechanism relative to the plasma heating. The effective Bloch equations provide an accurate and practical model for modeling amplifiers with pulses of duration greater than a few picoseconds. By capturing the large bandwidth and the carrier density dependence of the gain, it also provides a reliable model for studying the complex spatiotemporal multilongitudinal and transverse mode dynamics of a variety of wide-aperture high-power semiconductor lasers. The model goes beyond the traditional rate equations and is computationally much more efficient to simulate than the full model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1543-1550
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1997


  • Gain and index dispersion of semiconductors
  • Many-body effects
  • Nonlinear optical gain
  • Semiconductor amplifiers
  • Semiconductor laser modeling and simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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