Ultrashort-pulse generation from quantum-dot semiconductor diode lasers
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In this thesis, novel regimes of mode locking in quantum dot semiconductor laser diodes have been investigated by exploiting the unique features offered by quantum dots. Using an unconventional approach, the role of excited state transitions in the quantum dots was exploited as an additional degree of freedom for the mode locking of experimental quantum dot lasers. For the first time, passive mode locking via ground (1260nm) or excited state (1190nm) was demonstrated in a quantum dot laser. Picosecond pulses were generated at a repetition rate of 21GHz and 20.5GHz, for the ground and excited states respectively, with average powers in excess of 25mW. Switching between these two states in the mode-locking regime was achieved by changing the electrical biasing conditions, thus providing full control of the operating spectral band. A novel regime for mode locking in a quantum-dot laser was also investigated, where the simultaneous presence of cw emission in the excited-state band at high injection current levels, dramatically reduced the duration of the pulses generated via the ground state, whilst simultaneously boosting its peak power. This represents a radically different trend from the one typically observed in mode-locked lasers. From this investigation, it was concluded that the role of the excited state can not be neglected in the generation of ultrashort pulses from quantum-dot lasers. Stable passive mode locking of a quantum-dot laser over an extended temperature range (from 20ºC to 80ºC) was also demonstrated at relatively high output average powers. It was observed that the pulse duration and the spectral width decreased significantly as the temperature was increased up to 70ºC. The process of carrier escape in the absorber was identified as the main contributing factor that led to a decrease in the absorber recovery time as a function of increasing temperature which facilitated a decrease in the pulse durations. These results are shown to open the way for the ultimate deployment of ultra stable and uncooled mode-locked semiconductor diode lasers.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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