A highly heat conductive layer is combined with or placed in the vicinity of the optical waveguide region of active semiconductor components. The thermally conductive layer enhances the conduction of heat away from the active region, which is where the heat is generated in active semiconductor components. This layer is placed so close to the optical region that it must also function as a waveguide and causes the active region to be nearly the same temperature as the ambient or heat sink. However, the semiconductor material itself should be as temperature insensitive as possible and therefore the invention combines a highly thermally conductive dielectric layer with improved semiconductor materials to achieve an overall package that offers improved thermal performance. The highly thermally conductive layer serves two basic functions. First, it provides a lower index material than the semiconductor device so that certain kinds of optical waveguides may be formed, e.g., a ridge waveguide. The second and most important function, as it relates to this invention, is that it provides a significantly higher thermal conductivity than the semiconductor material, which is the principal material in the fabrication of various optoelectronic devices.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.