Linear modulators, injection locked lasers, semiconductors mode locked lasers


A true linearized interferometric intensity modulator for pulsed light has been proposed and experimentally presented in this thesis. This has been achieved by introducing a mode-locked laser into one of the arms of a Mach-Zehnder interferometer and injection-locking it to the input light (which is pulsed and periodic). By modulating the injection-locked laser, and combining its output light with the light from the other arm of interferometer in quadrature, one can achieve true linearized intensity modulator. This linearity comes from the arcsine phase response of the injection-locked mode-locked laser (as suggested by steady-state solution of Adler's equation) when it is being modulated. Mode-locked lasers are fabricated using a novel AlGaInAs-InP material system. By using the BCB for planarization and minimizing the metal pad size and directly modulating the laser, we have achieved very effective fundamental hybrid mode-locking at the repetition rate of ~ 23 GHz. This laser also provided the short pulses of 860 fs and 280 fs timing jitter integrated from 1 Hz- 100 MHz. The linearized intensity modulator has been built by using two identical two-section mode-locked lasers with the same length, one as the slave laser in one of the arms of the Mach-Zehnder interferometer injection-locked to the other one as the master which is the input light to the modulator. A low V? of 8.5 mV is achieved from this modulator. Also the current of the gain section or the voltage of the saturable absorber section of the slave laser has been used to apply the modulation signal. A spur free dynamic range of 70 dB.Hz2/3 is achieved when modulating the modulator through the saturable absorber. Modulating the saturable absorber provides a reduced third-order intermodulation tone with respect to modulating the gain. This is simply because of the unwanted amplitude modulation created when modulating the gain section current. Finally an improved design is proposed and demonstrated to improve the modulator performance. This is achieved by introducing a third section to the laser. Using the impurity free vacancy disordering technique the photoluminescence peak of this section is blue-shifted selectively and therefore there would not be any absorption in that passive section. By applying the modulation signal to this passive section rather than applying it to the gain section or saturable absorber section, the amplitude and phase modulation could be decoupled. The experimental results have presented here and an almost six-fold reduction in V? and 5 dB improvement in spur free dynamic range have been achieved. The proposed and demonstrated configuration as an analog optical link has the potential to increase the performance and resolution of photonic analog-to-digital converters.


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Graduation Date





Delfyett, Peter


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Optics and Photonics


Optics and Photonics

Degree Program

Optics and Photonics








Release Date

May 2015

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)