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Octave-spanning semiconductor laser

Abstract

We present a semiconductor injection laser operating in continuous wave with emission covering more than one octave in frequency and displaying homogeneous power distribution among the lasing modes. The gain medium is based on a heterogeneous quantum cascade structure operating in the terahertz range. Laser emission in continuous wave takes place from 1.64 THz to 3.35 THz with optical powers in the milliwatt range and more than 80 modes above threshold. For narrow waveguides, a collapse of the free-running beatnote to linewidths of 980 Hz, limited by jitter, indicate frequency comb operation on a spectral bandwidth as wide as 624 GHz, making such devices ideal candidates for octave-spanning semiconductor-laser-based terahertz frequency combs.

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Figure 1: Laser characteristics.
Figure 2: Spectral performance.
Figure 3: Beatnote evolution.
Figure 4: Beatnote analysis.
Figure 5: Dispersion analysis.

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Acknowledgements

The presented work is part of EU research project TERACOMB (call identifier FP7-ICT-2011-C, project no. 296500). The funding from SNF under the Project 200020_152962 is acknowledged. FIRST lab is also acknowledged. The authors acknowledge discussions with G. Villares, A. Hugi and S. Barbieri. The authors thank C. Bonzon for help with FE simulations. The use of the Schottky detector owned by S. Barbieri is acknowledged.

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Contributions

M.R. fabricated the quantum cascade lasers, performed experiments, analysed data, developed the simulations and wrote the paper together with G.S. G.S. designed the quantum cascade lasers, designed and performed experiments, analysed data, developed the simulations and wrote the manuscript together with M.R. M.B. grew the quantum cascade laser material used for this work. J.F. designed the experiments, analysed the data and supervised the work.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Markus Rösch or Giacomo Scalari.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Rösch, M., Scalari, G., Beck, M. et al. Octave-spanning semiconductor laser. Nature Photon 9, 42–47 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2014.279

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