Series in Quantum Electronics
edited by
Henry Baltes, Peter Günter, Ursula Keller,
Fritz K. Kneubühl †, Walter Lukosz,
Hans Melchior, Markus W. Sigrist

Vol. 48

Deran  J. H. C. Maas

MIXSELs – a new class of ultrafast
semiconductor lasers

1st edition 2009. XXIV, 134 pages; € 64,00.

ISBN-10: 3-86628-243-5, ISBN-13: 978-3-86628-243-8


Picosecond and femtosecond laser oscillators have enabled many breakthroughs in both fundamental science and industrial applications. However, so far these ultrafast lasers have not achieved the impact of continuous-wave lasers, which are used in various everyday life applications such as compact disk players, optical communication links or laser printers. One reason for the low market penetration is the complexity and cost of these sources. This thesis describes the development of a novel type of ultrafast semiconductor laser, which is suitable for high volume applications. The approach is based on the integration of a vertical external cavity surface emitting laser (VECSEL) and a semiconductor saturable absorber mirror (SESAM) into a single semiconductor structure. Such devices are referred to as modelocked integrated external-cavity surface emitting lasers (MIXSELs). A key challenge has been the development of Quantum Dot (QD) saturable absorbers with saturation properties that enable modelocking with similar mode sizes in the gain and absorber layers. Numerical simulation software has been developed to simulate the pulse propagation inside a modelocked laser and a new tool for the characterization of the nonlinear reflectivity of SESAMs with an accuracy of better than 0.05% is presented. The first MIXSEL is demonstrated using optimized QD-layers. It generates 185 mW of average output power in 32‑ps pulses at a repetition rate of 2.8 GHz. Furthermore, design guidelines for electrically pumped VECSELs and MIXSELs are given. Electrical pumping represents the final step towards even more compact and inexpensive ultrafast semiconductor lasers. The realization of such devices will fill a gap in the performance spectrum of today’s laser technology.


Deran Maas received his M.Sc. degree in electrical engineering (cum laude) from the Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands in 2003. He joined the Institute for Quantum Electronics at ETH Zurich, Switzerland in 2004. His research interests are in the field of ultrafast semiconductor devices, in particular developing compact ultrafast lasers, improving the precision of optical characterization methods and developing models for numerical simulations. He has written or co-authored more than forty scientific journal articles and conference contributions.


Keywords: modelocked laser, semiconductor laser, ultrafast laser, vertical external cavity surface emitting laser (VECSEL), semiconductor saturable absorber mirror (SESAM), optical characterization, quantum dot

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