A passively mode-locked external-cavity semiconductor laser emitting 60-fs pulses

Quarterman, Adrian H., Wilcox, Keith G., Apostolopoulos, Vasilis, Mihoubi, Zakaria, Elsmere, Stephen P., Farrer, Ian, Ritchie, David A. and Tropper, Anne (2009) A passively mode-locked external-cavity semiconductor laser emitting 60-fs pulses Nature Photonics, 3, (10), pp. 729-731. (doi:10.1038/NPHOTON.2009.216).


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Optical pulses of duration a few tens of femtoseconds drive applications from attoscience to metrology, yet femtosecond lasers remain bulky and expensive items based on vibronic crystal or ytterbium-doped silica fibre gain media. Although in principle band-gap-engineered quantum-confined semiconductor materials have significant advantages of gain bandwidth, and spectral versatility, semiconductor lasers have not to date been capable of generating comparably short pulses. Here we describe an optically-pumped InGaAs/GaAs quantum well (QW) laser that is passively mode-locked using an intracavity semiconductor saturable absorber mirror (SESAM) and emits 60-fs pulses at 1037 nm with optical spectrum bandwidth of 20 nm full-width half-maximum (FWHM). In this laser, fast optical Stark self-absorption modulation and strong gain saturation combine to shape pulses on the timescale of carrier-carrier scattering. The cavity contains a stable group of circulating pulses, regularly spaced at an interval fixed by the time over which the saturated gain recovers.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1038/NPHOTON.2009.216
ISSNs: 1749-4885 (print)
Keywords: ultrafast semiconductor laser
ePrint ID: 79505
Date :
Date Event
December 2009Published
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2010
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2017 20:14
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/79505

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