Andreas Jechow

Tailoring the emission of stripe-array diode lasers with external cavities to enable nonlinear frequency conversion

ISBN: 978-3-86956-031-1
139 Seiten
Erscheinungsjahr 2010

16,00 

A huge number of applications require coherent radiation in the visible spectral range. Since diode lasers are very compact and efficient light sources, there exists a great interest to cover these applications with diode laser emission. Despite modern band gap engineering not all wavelengths can be accessed with diode laser radiation. Especially in the visible spectral range between 480 nm and 630 nm no emission from diode lasers is available, yet. Nonlinear frequency conversion of near-infrared radiation is a common way to generate coherent emission in the visible spectral range. However, radiation with extraordinary spatial temporal and spectral quality is required to pump frequency conversion. Broad area (BA) diode lasers are reliable high power light sources in the near-infrared spectral range. They belong to the most efficient coherent light sources with electro-optical efficiencies of more than 70%. Standard BA lasers are not suitable as pump lasers for frequency conversion because of their poor beam quality and spectral properties. For this purpose, tapered lasers and diode lasers with Bragg gratings are utilized. However, these new diode laser structures demand for additional manufacturing and assembling steps that makes their processing challenging and expensive. An alternative to BA diode lasers is the stripe-array architecture. The emitting area of a stripe-array diode laser is comparable to a BA device and the manufacturing of these arrays requires only one additional process step. Such a stripe-array consists of several narrow striped emitters realized with close proximity. Due to the overlap of the fields of neighboring emitters or the presence of leaky waves, a strong coupling between the emitters exists. As a consequence, the emission of such an array is characterized by a so called supermode. However, for the free running stripe-array mode competition between several supermodes occurs because of the lack of wavelength stabilization. This leads to power fluctuations, spectral instabilities and poor beam quality. Thus, it was necessary to study the emission properties of those stripe-arrays to find new concepts to realize an external synchronization of the emitters. The aim was to achieve stable longitudinal and transversal single mode operation with high output powers giving a brightness sufficient for efficient nonlinear frequency conversion. For this purpose a comprehensive analysis of the stripe-array devices was done here. The physical effects that are the origin of the emission characteristics were investigated theoretically and experimentally. In this context numerical models could be verified and extended. A good agreement between simulation and experiment was observed. One way to stabilize a specific supermode of an array is to operate it in an external cavity. Based on mathematical simulations and experimental work, it was possible to design novel external cavities to select a specific supermode and stabilize all emitters of the array at the same wavelength. This resulted in stable emission with 1 W output power, a narrow bandwidth in the range of 2 MHz and a very good beam quality with M²<1.5. This is a new level of brightness and brilliance compared to other BA and stripe-array diode laser systems. The emission from this external cavity diode laser (ECDL) satisfied the requirements for nonlinear frequency conversion. Furthermore, a huge improvement to existing concepts was made. In the next step newly available periodically poled crystals were used for second harmonic generation (SHG) in single pass setups. With the stripe-array ECDL as pump source, more than 140 mW of coherent radiation at 488 nm could be generated with a very high opto-optical conversion efficiency. The generated blue light had very good transversal and longitudinal properties and could be used to generate biphotons by parametric down-conversion. This was feasible because of the improvement made with the infrared stripe-array diode lasers due to the development of new physical concepts.

A huge number of applications require coherent radiation in the visible spectral range. Since diode lasers are very compact and efficient light sources, there exists a great interest to cover these applications with diode laser emission. Despite modern band gap engineering not all wavelengths can be accessed with diode laser radiation. Especially in the visible spectral range between 480 nm and 630 nm no emission from diode lasers is available, yet. Nonlinear frequency conversion of near-infrared radiation is a common way to generate coherent emission in the visible spectral range. However, radiation with extraordinary spatial temporal and spectral quality is required to pump frequency conversion. Broad area (BA) diode lasers are reliable high power light sources in the near-infrared spectral range. They belong to the most efficient coherent light sources with electro-optical efficiencies of more than 70%. Standard BA lasers are not suitable as pump lasers for frequency conversion because of their poor beam quality and spectral properties. For this purpose, tapered lasers and diode lasers with Bragg gratings are utilized. However, these new diode laser structures demand for additional manufacturing and assembling steps that makes their processing challenging and expensive. An alternative to BA diode lasers is the stripe-array architecture. The emitting area of a stripe-array diode laser is comparable to a BA device and the manufacturing of these arrays requires only one additional process step. Such a stripe-array consists of several narrow striped emitters realized with close proximity. Due to the overlap of the fields of neighboring emitters or the presence of leaky waves, a strong coupling between the emitters exists. As a consequence, the emission of such an array is characterized by a so called supermode. However, for the free running stripe-array mode competition between several supermodes occurs because of the lack of wavelength stabilization. This leads to power fluctuations, spectral instabilities and poor beam quality. Thus, it was necessary to study the emission properties of those stripe-arrays to find new concepts to realize an external synchronization of the emitters. The aim was to achieve stable longitudinal and transversal single mode operation with high output powers giving a brightness sufficient for efficient nonlinear frequency conversion. For this purpose a comprehensive analysis of the stripe-array devices was done here. The physical effects that are the origin of the emission characteristics were investigated theoretically and experimentally. In this context numerical models could be verified and extended. A good agreement between simulation and experiment was observed. One way to stabilize a specific supermode of an array is to operate it in an external cavity. Based on mathematical simulations and experimental work, it was possible to design novel external cavities to select a specific supermode and stabilize all emitters of the array at the same wavelength. This resulted in stable emission with 1 W output power, a narrow bandwidth in the range of 2 MHz and a very good beam quality with M²<1.5. This is a new level of brightness and brilliance compared to other BA and stripe-array diode laser systems. The emission from this external cavity diode laser (ECDL) satisfied the requirements for nonlinear frequency conversion. Furthermore, a huge improvement to existing concepts was made. In the next step newly available periodically poled crystals were used for second harmonic generation (SHG) in single pass setups. With the stripe-array ECDL as pump source, more than 140 mW of coherent radiation at 488 nm could be generated with a very high opto-optical conversion efficiency. The generated blue light had very good transversal and longitudinal properties and could be used to generate biphotons by parametric down-conversion. This was feasible because of the improvement made with the infrared stripe-array diode lasers due to the development of new physical concepts.