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Novel Integrated Photonic Devices for High-Power Ultrashort Pulse Generation

Final Report Summary - NINTENDU-PULSE (Novel Integrated Photonic Devices for High-Power Ultrashort Pulse Generation)

The goal of this project is to develop a new class of ultrafast semiconductor laser diode systems, able to generate high-peak-power ultrashort pulses. The target area encompasses biomedical imaging and relevant applications, although the range of applications where high-performance compact ultrafast laser sources can be deployed is very wide.

Throughout this project, significant progress was made towards pioneering an entirely new generation of ultrafast semiconductor lasers with significant improvements in peak power, tunability, beam quality and spectral region coverage. Some of the key highlights are:

- The development of a quantum-dot master-oscillator power-amplifier system generating high-peak power pulses at 1.26µm, which was successfully used for multiphoton imaging;

- A broadly tunable picosecond pulsed master-oscillator power-amplifier system based on chirped quantum-dot structures, enabling the generation of picosecond pulses tunable between 1187 nm and 1283 nm;

- A 980-nm external cavity passively mode-locked laser with a maximum peak power of 5.26 W, with exceptionally low noise performance (-3dB RF linewidth of only ~40 Hz at 1 GHz pulse repetition rate);

- New monolithic semiconductor passively mode-locked quantum-well laser diodes, emitting at 766 nm and 752 nm, and enabling the generation of stable ~20 GHz pulse trains with pulse duration of ~3.5-5 ps (the first time ultrashort pulses were generated from laser diodes in this spectral region).

This new generation of ultrafast laser sources is expected to replace the expensive and bulky solid-state ultrafast laser sources in the infrared and near-infrared waveband in a number of applications, such as biomedical imaging, laser surgery and laser therapy, due to the stable, reliable, low-cost and portable features of this class of devices.

This Fellowship project has allowed the University of Dundee to establish a very fruitful and ongoing working relationship with some of the leading research institutions in China, where the Fellow had previously worked. The initiation of these international collaborations is of great value to the European Research Area at large and it is also one of the key achievements of the project.