Mode-locked lasers have numerous applications in the areas of communications, spectroscopy, and frequency metrology. Harmonically mode-locked semiconductor lasers with external ring cavities offer a unique combination of benefits in that they can produce high repetition rate pulse trains with low timing jitter, achieve narrow axial mode linewidths, have the potential for entire monolithic integration on-chip, feature high wall-plug efficiency due to direct electrical pumping, and can be engineered to operate in different wavelength bands of interest. However, lasers based on InP/InGaAsP quantum well devices which operate in the important telecom C-band have thus far been relatively limited in bandwidth as compared to competing platforms. Broad bandwidth is critical for increasing information carrying capacity and enabling femtosecond pulse production for coherent continuum generation in offset frequency stabilization. The goal of the work in this dissertation is to maximize the bandwidth of semiconductor lasers, bringing them closer to reaching their full potential as all-purpose sources. Dispersion in the laser cavity is a primary limiter of the achievable bandwidth in the laser architectures covered in this dissertation. In the first part of this dissertation, an accurate self-referenced technique based on multi-heterodyne detection is developed for measuring the spectral phase of a mode-locked laser. This technique is used to characterize the dispersion in several semiconductor laser architectures. In the second part, this knowledge is applied to reduce the dispersion in a laser cavity using a programmable pulse shaper, and thus increase the laser's spectral bandwidth. We demonstrate a 10 GHz frequency comb with bandwidth spanning 5 THz, representing a twofold improvement over the previously achievable bandwidth. Finally, this laser is converted to a stand-alone system by reconfiguring it as a coupled opto-electronic oscillator and a novel stabilization scheme is presented.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Optics and Photonics
Optics and Photonics
Optics and Photonics
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Klee, Anthony, "Broad Bandwidth Optical Frequency Combs from Low Noise, High Repetition Rate Semiconductor Mode-Locked Lasers" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 4925.