Recent advances and new directions in quantum cascade (QC) lasers are discussed in this paper. Invented in 1994 following many years of research on band-structure engineered semiconductors and devices grown by molecular beam epitaxy, this fundamentally new laser has rapidly advanced to a leading position among midinfrared semiconductor lasers in terms of wavelength agility as well as power and temperature performance. Because of the cascaded structure, QC lasers have a slope efficiency proportional to the number of stages. Devices with 100 stages having a record peak power of 0.6 W at room temperature are reported here. QC lasers in the AlInAs-GaInAs lattice matched to InP material system can now be designed to emit in the whole midinfrared range from 4 to 20 mum by appropriately choosing the thickness of the quantum wells in the active region. Using strained AlInAs-GaInAs, wavelengths as short as 3.4 mum have been produced, New results on QC lasers emitting at 19 mum, the longest ever realized in a III-V semiconductor laser, are reported. These devices use innovative plasmon waveguides to greatly enhance the mode confinement factor, thereby reducing the thickness of the epitaxial material. By use of a distributed feedback (DFB) geometry, QC lasers show single-mode emission with a 30-dB side-mode suppression ratio. Broad continuous single-mode tuning by either temperature or current has been demonstrated in these DFB QC lasers at wavelengths in two atmospheric windows (3-5 and 8-13 mum), with continuous-wave linewidths <1 MHz when freerunning and <similar to>10 KHz with suitable locking to the side of a molecular transition. These devices have been used in a number of chemical sensing and spectroscopic applications, demonstrating the capability of detecting parts per billion in volume of several trace gases. Sophisticated band-structure engineering has allowed the design and demonstration of bidirectional lasers, These devices emit different wavelengths for opposite bias polarities. The last section of the paper deals,vith the high-speed operation of QC lasers, Gain switching with pulse widths similar to 50 ps and active modelocking with a few picosecond-long pulses have been demonstrated. Finally a new type of passive modelocking has been demonstrated in QC lasers, which relies on the giant and ultrafast optical Kerr effect of intersubband transitions.

New frontiers in quantum cascade lasers and applications

Tredicucci A;
2000

Abstract

Recent advances and new directions in quantum cascade (QC) lasers are discussed in this paper. Invented in 1994 following many years of research on band-structure engineered semiconductors and devices grown by molecular beam epitaxy, this fundamentally new laser has rapidly advanced to a leading position among midinfrared semiconductor lasers in terms of wavelength agility as well as power and temperature performance. Because of the cascaded structure, QC lasers have a slope efficiency proportional to the number of stages. Devices with 100 stages having a record peak power of 0.6 W at room temperature are reported here. QC lasers in the AlInAs-GaInAs lattice matched to InP material system can now be designed to emit in the whole midinfrared range from 4 to 20 mum by appropriately choosing the thickness of the quantum wells in the active region. Using strained AlInAs-GaInAs, wavelengths as short as 3.4 mum have been produced, New results on QC lasers emitting at 19 mum, the longest ever realized in a III-V semiconductor laser, are reported. These devices use innovative plasmon waveguides to greatly enhance the mode confinement factor, thereby reducing the thickness of the epitaxial material. By use of a distributed feedback (DFB) geometry, QC lasers show single-mode emission with a 30-dB side-mode suppression ratio. Broad continuous single-mode tuning by either temperature or current has been demonstrated in these DFB QC lasers at wavelengths in two atmospheric windows (3-5 and 8-13 mum), with continuous-wave linewidths <1 MHz when freerunning and 10 KHz with suitable locking to the side of a molecular transition. These devices have been used in a number of chemical sensing and spectroscopic applications, demonstrating the capability of detecting parts per billion in volume of several trace gases. Sophisticated band-structure engineering has allowed the design and demonstration of bidirectional lasers, These devices emit different wavelengths for opposite bias polarities. The last section of the paper deals,vith the high-speed operation of QC lasers, Gain switching with pulse widths similar to 50 ps and active modelocking with a few picosecond-long pulses have been demonstrated. Finally a new type of passive modelocking has been demonstrated in QC lasers, which relies on the giant and ultrafast optical Kerr effect of intersubband transitions.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11384/84595
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