Mairaj, Arshad, Curry, Richard J., Hughes, Mark, Simpson, Robert, Knight, Kenton and Hewak, Dan
Towards a compact optical waveguide device for active infrared applications
At SPIE European Symposium on Optics and Photonics for Defence & Security.
25 - 28 Oct 2004.
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The infrared (IR) spectrum is of significant importance in many defence applications including free-space communication, thermal imaging and chemical sensing. The materials used in these applications must exhibit a number of suitable properties including mid-IR transparency, rare-earth solubility and low optical loss. When moving towards miniaturised optical devices one tends to adopt the concepts introduced by integrated optics; multiple devices operating harmoniously on a single photonic chip. Our work focuses on the use of a laser to directly write into a novel chalcogenide glass to engineer optical waveguide devices. Our material of choice is gallium lanthanum sulphide (Ga:La:S) glass, an exceptional vitreous chalcogenide material possessing these aforementioned properties as well as a broad range of other properties. These Ga:La:S glasses have a wide transmission window between 0.5 to 10 µm. Furthermore, these low-phonon energy glasses have a high transition temperature (T = 560°C), high refractive index, the highest reported non-linearity in a glass, excellent me-earth solubility with well documented near-mid IR spectroscopic properties. We report on low loss single-mode active channel waveguides in Ga:La:S glass engineered through direct laser writing (lambda = 244 nm). We discuss laser operation at 1.075 µm (neodymium) and IR emission at 1.55, 2.02 and 2.74 µm (erbium) from these waveguides.
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