Self-mode-locking of quantum cascade lasers with giant ultrafast optical nonlinearities

R. Paiella, F. Capasso, C. Gmachl, D. L. Sivco, J. N. Baillargeon, A. L. Hutchinson, A. Y. Cho, H. C. Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations

Abstract

We report on the generation of picosecond self-mode-locked pulses from midinfrared quantum cascade lasers, at wavelengths within the important molecular fingerprint region. These devices are based on intersubband electron transitions in semiconductor nanostructures, which are characterized by some of the largest optical nonlinearities observed in nature and by picosecond relaxation lifetimes. Our results are interpreted with a model in which one of these nonlinearities, the intensity-dependent refractive index of the lasing transition, creates a nonlinear waveguide where the optical losses decrease with increasing intensity. This favors the generation of ultrashort pulses, because of their larger instantaneous intensity relative to continuous-wave emission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1739-1742
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume290
Issue number5497
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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