Inh.: Dr. Renate Gorre
Fon: +49 (0)7533 97227
Fax: +49 (0)7533 97228
Series in Quantum Electronics
Henry Baltes, Peter Günter, Ursula Keller,
Fritz K. Kneubühl , Walter Lukosz,
Hans Melchior, Markus W. Sigrist
NEAR INFRARED SEMICONDUCTOR
SATURABLE ABSORBER MIRRORS FOR
HIGH REPETITION RATE LASERS
1st edition 2006. 140 pages, 64,00. ISBN 3-86628-073-4
The goal of this thesis is to investigate semiconductor saturable absorber mirrors (SESAMs) for passively mode-locked solid-state lasers operating in the 1.3 to 1.6 µm spectral range. These lasers generate picosecond or femtosecond pulses up to GHz repetition rates. They find applications in telecommunication as simple, compact, transform-limited optical pulse generators and in optical clocking as promising sources with high clock rates. The SESAM is the key enabling device to reach the demanding performance of the information and communication technology. The design, the absorber material or the epitaxial growth conditions of the SESAMs can be modified, resulting in a large range of accessible device parameters. This flexibility is essential for matching laser requirements and overcoming mode locking instabilities.
We develop two setups to precisely characterize the parameters of SESAMs. The first setup measures the nonlinear reflectivity of the SESAM. We obtain a high accuracy, which allows for measuring modulation depth below 0.5%. This small reflectivity change is essential to overcome the Q-switched mode locking (QML) threshold in GHz repetition rate lasers with low intracavity power. The second setup measures the time response on a femto- to nanosecond time frame with an optical sampling technique called pump-probe. Both setups are flexible to enable easy alignment with all available laser sources. We study SESAMs behavior exposed to different pulse durations or repetition rates and discover a stronger inverse saturable absorption than expected from the theory. We develop and characterize new materials such as GaInNAs, AlGaAsSb and single wall carbon nanotubes that are rare at near infrared wavelengths.
Rachel Grange received her master degree in physics from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) in 2002. The same year she joined the Institute of Quantum Electronics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ). Her research focused on the nonlinear optical characterization of semiconductor saturable absorber mirrors for passively mode-locked solid-state lasers and for vertical-external-cavity surface-emitting lasers at high repetition rates and telecom wavelengths. She has written and co-authored more than 40 scientific journal articles and conference contributions.
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