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13 February 2016 Deterministic temporal chaos from a mid-infrared external cavity quantum cascade lasers
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Quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) are unipolar semiconductor lasers offering access to wavelengths from the mid-infrared (IR) to the terahertz domain and promising impact on various applications such as free-space communications, high-resolution spectroscopy, LIDAR remote sensing or optical countermeasures. Unlike bipolar semiconductor lasers, stimulated emission in QCLs is obtained via electronic transitions between discrete energy states inside the conduction band. Recent technological progress has led to QCLs operating in pulsed or continuous wave mode, at room temperature in single- or multi-mode operation, with high powers up to a few watts for mid-IR devices. This spectacular development raises multiple interrogations on the stability of QCLs as little is known on their dynamical properties. Very recently, experiments based on optical spectrum measurements have unveiled the existence of five distinct feedback regimes without, however, identifying the complex dynamics dwelling within the QCL. In this article we provide the first experimental evidence of a route to chaos in a QCL emitting at mid-IR wavelength. When applying optical feedback with an increasing strength, the QCL dynamics bifurcate to periodic dynamics at the external cavity frequency and later to chaos without an undamping of relaxation oscillations, hence contrasting with the well-known scenarios occurring in interband laser diodes.
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Frédéric Grillot, Louise Jumpertz, Kevin Schires, Mathieu Carras, and Marc Sciamanna "Deterministic temporal chaos from a mid-infrared external cavity quantum cascade lasers", Proc. SPIE 9755, Quantum Sensing and Nano Electronics and Photonics XIII, 975521 (13 February 2016);

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