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Carbon Nanotubes Technologies in Pulsed Fibre Lasers for Telecom and Sensing Applications

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Carbon nanotubes for infrared laser systems

Ultrashort pulse lasers are powerful tools in research labs and industry, with promising applications in the telecommunications and biomedical fields. EU-funded scientists used new nanomaterials in non-linear optical (NLO) devices to generate infrared (IR) light from high-power lasers.

Industrial Technologies
Energy

Carbon nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have unique optical properties that can be optimised over a very broad spectral range, dependent on the size and shape of the material. They are very promising for use in NLO devices for fibre lasers to enable generation of ultrashort pulses in the IR optical range. The IR range provides a window to molecular composition useful in environmental or biomedical sensing applications and it is also important in telecommunications. Saturable absorbers are a key component in pulsed lasers, enabling pulse production in the mode-locking and Q-switching regimes. Recent research has shown that suitable saturable absorbers for mode locking or Q switching of fibre lasers can be semiconductor saturable absorber mirrors or nanosystems such as graphene and CNTs. Within the EU-funded project TELASENS (Carbon nanotubes technologies in pulsed fibre lasers for telecom and sensing applications), scientists exploited CNTs in the NLO devices of pulsed fibre lasers. A combination of computer modelling and experimental physical chemistry led to the development of novel saturable absorber devices by deposition of CNTs in the fibre micro-channel and on the optical mirrors. Further, these were integrated in fibre lasers with various active media to achieve ultrashort pulse generation in the broad IR spectral range between 1 000 and 2 000 nm. Eventual applications of the cost-effective fibre laser sources include personalised healthcare, novel sensors for manufacturing and transport, and new fibre optics communication systems.

Keywords

Carbon nanotubes, infrared, ultrashort pulse, fibre lasers, TELASENS

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