For much more accurate simulations of QCLs and RTDs, we recommend using nextnano.NEGF.

See also this video: nextnanoNEGF_video_ITQW_2017_1080p.mp4

NEGF simulation of a Quantum Cascade Laser

This video (mpg4, 23 MB) shows how a QCL works. The first 10 seconds summarize the features of our software, the remaining 20 seconds show the animated simulation results. At 20 seconds, the QCL starts to lase: The electron density (figure on the right) shows the population inversion, i.e. the higher state has a larger electron population than the lower lasing state.


We think it makes sense to

  1. first get familiar with the nextnanomat user interface (using the nextnano++ software) and

  2. then have a look at the nextnano.NEGF software.

You can solve the Schrödinger equation for a QCL heterostructure subject to an electric field using the nextnano++ software.

You can find simple QCL wavefunction calculation (including intersubband transition matrix elements) examples here:

C:\Program Files\nextnano\2020_12_09\Sample files\nextnano++ sample files\

Start with these input files:

Once you have gained some familiarity with the nextnanomat user interface, you can eventually start using the nextnano.NEGF software.


  1. Install the nextnano software.

    Instructions for download and installation

  2. Once done, install the nextnano.NEGF software.

You can download the nextnano.NEGF software from here:

Download nextnano.NEGF

Unzip the file, store it to a useful location on your hard disk, and set the path to the nextnano.NEGF.exe exectuable in nextnanomat ==> Tools ==> Options ==> Simulation ==> nextnano.NEGF executable file.

Please make sure to check in Windows File Explorer ==> View ==> File name extensions. If you don’t check this option, you will only see:

  • nextnano.NEGF (without file extension .exe.) and not

  • nextnano.NEGF.exe

Set location of executable

Set the path to the nextnano.NEGF.exe executable.

Sample input files can be found in the \nextnano.NEGF sample files\ folder. We recommend starting with this example: Open THz_QCL_GaAs_AlGaAs_Fathololoumi_OptExpress2012_10K-FAST.xml and press the run button. This is only a test file that runs fast (typically 10 minutes). For reliable calculations, please use the corresponding file THz_QCL_GaAs_AlGaAs_Fathololoumi_OptExpress2012-MEDIUM.xml which takes more CPU time (~12 hours) than *FAST.xml but produces much more accurate results. If the calculations take too long, your CPU might not be very fast or you do not have sufficient RAM. In that case, please contact us. You need at least 16 GB RAM, 32 GB are better. Please note that you should run the larger input files on a computer having 32 GB RAM. 16 GB might be not enough and require a change in the settings for the number of parallel threads used for the gain calculation. We recommend a Windows PC with 64 GB RAM, and a recent i7 CPU (e.g. a 6-core i7-8700). The whole PC is then around USD 1,000.

If the software does not run, you might have to specify the Material_Database.xml file in Tools ==> Options ==> Material database.

We hope you enjoy using nextnano.NEGF. Please let us know if you encounter any difficulty or notice any strange simulation results: Contact nextnano

Note also these slides on the implemented physics:

Finally, the technical documentation for the nextnano.NEGF software is available here: