High efficiency laser operation with output power exceeding 2 W was obtained for vertical external-cavity PbS based IV-VI compound surface emitting quantum-well structures. The laser showed external quantum efficiency as high as 16%. Generally, mid-infrared III-V or II-VI semiconductor laser operation utilizing interband electron transitions are restricted by Auger recombination and free carrier absorption. Auger recombination is much lower in the IV-VI semiconductors, and the free-carrier absorption is significantly reduced by an optically pumped laser structure including multi-step optical excitation layers.

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