Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Mid-infrared laser non-linear spectroscopy

The project unites Russian laser and non-linear-optical crystal technology with highly refined western molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) semiconductor growth and ultrafast spectroscopic technologies. The main activities concern mid-infrared (IR) solid state lasers, non-linear methods of frequency conversion., mid-IR spectroscopy, ultrashort laser pulses and acoustic microscopy. This includes creation of compact all-solid state high peak power lasers emitting in the middle infrared range (l - 3 mm) with high repetition rate (1 kHz or 250 MHz) and short pulse duration. This laser is of particular interest for medical applications because of the extremely high human tissue absorption coefficient due to water absorption at this wavelength. Most of the laser radiation is absorbed within 1 um layer of skin, thus making it possible to very delicate surgery, reducing to minimum heating effects and collateral damage. State-of-the-art Russian quantum well laser diodes are used to excite the erbium laser active medium. Molecular beam epitaxy grown indium arsenide heteroepitaxial semiconductor samples are also used for intracavity optical switching of the laser radiation to produce giant or ultrashort pulses of 10 MW peak power at l - 3 mm. Such pulses are extremely efficient for producing frequency tunable infrared radiation in the main atmospheric windows via optical parametric generation (using gallium selenide) or frequency mixing, and can be used for remote atmosphere pollutant detection. Additionally, high repetition rate (250 MHz) erbium laser pulses will be used for the excitation of hypersound waves in water for opto-acoustical imaging of optically opaque objects with sub-micron resolution.

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