Tunable laser diodes with a tuning range of several tens of nanometers are generally being acknowledged as key components for future generation optical networks. However, all presently available devices suffer from several serious drawbacks. The most well-known issue is the time-consuming calibration procedure that has to be carried out for every single device.
Recently the so-called sampled or superstructure grating tunable twin-guide or (S)SG-TTG laser diode has been suggested to overcome some of the prevailing problems. In this paper we will present tuning characteristics of first devices and discuss the influence of facet reflections on the tuning behaviour.
The widely tunable twin-guide laser diodes operate around 1.55 μm and have a continuous tuning range of ~ 2 nm. However, by utilizing Vernier-effect tuning, the overall quasi-continuous tuning range is extended to 28 nm. Within this tuning range, five supermodes can be continuously tuned without the occurrence of any mode hops. The side-mode suppression ratio is kept between 25 and 37 dB.
Widely tunable lasers are generally considered as the transmitters of future WDM optical communications. Electronically tunable edge-emitting laser diodes are of particular interest as they can switch the wavelength in tens of nanoseconds and thus offer great potential for new networking concepts such as optical packet or burst switching, label switching, bandwidth on demand, ... In this paper we discuss new concepts for such widely tunable laser diodes which are studied in the framework of the European IST project NEWTON (NEw Widely Tunable laser diodes for Optical Networks).
Widely tunable lasers are generally considered as key components of future optical communication networks. However, practically all widely tunable lasers that have been fabricated so far suffer from drawbacks, like elaborate calibration procedures that are required for each specific device, low output powers, and limited direct modulation capabilities.
To overcome the aforementioned issues, the sampled or superstructure grating tunable twin-guide or (S)SG-TTG laser diode has been suggested recently. In this paper we will focus on the operation principle, the fabrication, and performance of the first widely tunable twin-guide laser diodes.
The devices operate at ~ 1.55 µm wavelength. By means of Vernier effect tuning, the continuous tuning range of ~ 2 nm is extended to an overall tuning range of 28 nm. Within this tuning range, five supermodes are useable and can be continuously tuned without any mode hops. The side-mode suppression ratio remains between 25 and 37 dB over the whole tuning range. Without any tuning currents applied, a maximum output power of 12 mW has been achieved.
Tunable laser diodes exploiting the free-carrier plasma-effect are renown for their large tuning range. To control the emission wavelength, carriers are injected into a tuning region inducing a refractive index change. Typically, the material system GaInAsP/InP is used for tuning regions. Since this material shows strong recombination, a large current has to be applied while tuning. Unfortunately, the tuning current causes a parasitic temperature
increase of the device acting negatively in a twofold way. Firstly, the index change due to the temperature increase works directly against the index change that is brought about by the plasma-effect. Secondly, many parameters of the laser device depend critically on temperature. Therefore, a reduction of the current consumption would
instantly improve all relevant device parameters. In this paper we propose a type-II superlattice consisting of Al0.30Ga0.17In0.53As/Al0.50Ga0.50As0.56Sb0.44 as a tuning region. The staggered band alignment leads to a spatial separation of the electrons and holes. As a result, the recombination rate can be significantly reduced by over one order of magnitude, which in turn leads to an increase of the carrier density as a function of the
current. An analysis shows that type-II superlattices can provide an equal tuning range with a reduced current consumption by a factor of six compared to conventional heterostructures.
Different design approaches and the corresponding fabrication technology of widely tunable lasers with vertically integrated Mach-Zehnder interferometer (VMZ) have been investigated with respect to the spectral selectivity and tuning performance. Calulations show for designs with InGaAsP bulk material as active region that a tuning range of 75nm and a side-mode suppression ratio (SSR) of more than 30dB are feasible. The tuning range can be further extended using multiple quantum well heterostructures as active regions. They enable tuning ranges covering the whole material gain spectrum, but with a reduced SSR. Due to the codirectional mode coupling of the laser, the use of an appropriate facet coating allows an enlargement of the SSR to more than 30dB even for the large tuning range designs. We present the different design concepts and discuss the theoretical data as well as the first experimental results of the corresponding VMZ-laser devices. The measured spectrum of the laser shows an SSR close to the theoretically predicted value.