As demand towards cloud-based services and high-performance computations grows, it imposes requirements on data center performance, and efficiency. Taking advantage of the mature CMOS process technology, and the fact that silicon is the basic material of electronics industry, silicon photonics makes possible production photonic integrated circuits that satisfy these requirements.
Here we explore the short-cavity hybrid laser consisting of a III-V amplifier integrated with a silicon photonic crystal (PhC) cavity reflector by so-called butt-coupling approach. The laser possesses great stability characteristics meeting the criteria for data center interconnect applications. The PhC reflector having a Q-factor of 104 at the lasing wavelength 1535 nm can be considered as a narrow-bandwidth filter. The laser demonstrates single mode and eventless operation without any dynamics on the background, and smooth radiofrequency spectrum without evidence of relaxation oscillation frequency. The latter fact is beneficial for many applications, and indicates extremely high damping in PhC laser, where the photon cavity lifetime is greatly improved by the high-Q PhC cavity reflector.
We confirm our experimental observations by theory based on delay differential equation model for a single-section semiconductor laser. We reveal the effective damping of the laser, when the detuning between the filter peak and the laser cavity mode is small, and the imaginary parts of the model eigenvalues equal zero. It is possible to undamp the relaxation oscillations forcing self-Q-switched operation in the laser owing to the cumulative action of the alpha-factor and the narrow filter.
In conclusion, we experimentally and theoretically demonstrated that relaxation oscillations can be suppressed in the short-cavity semiconductor laser with a narrow intracavity frequency filter. Additionally, on the basis of our analysis we expect the undamping of relaxation oscillations, and self-pulsations when the cavity mode is detuned from the filter peak frequency. The results might be useful for applications in data communications.