12 September 2017 Pseudorandom dynamics of frequency combs in free-running quantum cascade lasers
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Abstract
Recent research has shown that free-running quantum cascade lasers are capable of producing frequency combs in midinfrared and THz regions of the spectrum. Unlike familiar frequency combs originating from mode-locked lasers, these do not require any additional optical elements inside the cavity and have temporal characteristics that are dramatically different from the periodic pulse train of conventional combs. Frequency combs from quantum cascade lasers are characterized by the absence of sharp pulses and strong frequency modulation, periodic with the cavity round trip time but lacking any periodicity within that period. To explicate for this seemingly perplexing behavior, we develop a model of the gain medium using optical Bloch equations that account for hole burning in spectral, spatial, and temporal domains. With this model, we confirm that the most efficient mode of operation of a free-running quantum cascade laser is indeed a pseudorandom frequency-modulated field with nearly constant intensity. We show that the optimum modulation period is commensurate with the gain recovery time of the laser medium and the optimum modulation amplitude is comparable to the gain bandwidth, behavior that has been observed in the experiments.
© 2017 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
Nathan Henry, David Burghoff, Yang Yang, Qing Hu, Jacob B. Khurgin, "Pseudorandom dynamics of frequency combs in free-running quantum cascade lasers," Optical Engineering 57(1), 011009 (12 September 2017). https://doi.org/10.1117/1.OE.57.1.011009 . Submission: Received: 13 June 2017; Accepted: 10 August 2017
Received: 13 June 2017; Accepted: 10 August 2017; Published: 12 September 2017
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