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Ultrashort Pulse Generation from Terahertz Quantum Cascade Lasers

Objective

The generation of ultrafast and intense light pulses is an underpinning technology across the electromagnetic spectrum enabling the study of fundamental light-matter interactions, as well as industrial exploitation in a plethora of applications across the physical, chemical and biological sciences. A benchmark system for such studies is the modelocked Ti:Sapphire laser, which has grown from being a laboratory curiosity to an essential tool in a broad range of application sectors. Beyond Ti:Sapphire systems, there have been impressive developments in semiconductor based devices for pulse generation in the optical range. These benefit from low system costs and are an enabling technology in new application domains including high speed communications.

However, in the terahertz (THz) frequency range, with its proven applications in imaging, metrology and non-destructive testing, a semiconductor based technology platform for intense and short pulse generation has yet to be realised. Ultrafast excitation of photoconductive switches or nonlinear crystals offer only low powers, low frequency modulation or broadband emission with little control of the spectral bandwidth.

In the ULTRAQCL project we will breakthrough this technological gap, using THz quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) as a foundational semiconductor device for generating intense and short THz pulses. QCLs are the only practical semiconductor system that offer gain at THz frequencies, hence making them suitable for pulse generation, with the ‘bandstructure-by-design’ nature of QCLs allowing the frequency, bandwidth and pulse width to be entirely engineered. We will demonstrate: the first self-starting (passive) mode-locked THz QCL; the first hybrid modelocked THz QCL; the first gain-switched modelocked QCL; and, the first pulse generation in QCLs with on-chip dispersion compensation. The ULTRAQCL project will implement these radical schemes for pulse generation enabling ultrafast QCLs to become a ubiquitous technology for the THz range.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/biological sciences
  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/electromagnetism and electronics/semiconductor device
  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/electromagnetism and electronics/electrical conductivity/semiconductor
  • /engineering and technology/materials engineering/crystals
  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/optics/laser physics

Call for proposal

H2020-FETOPEN-2014-2015-RIA
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

RIA - Research and Innovation action

Coordinator

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE CNRS
Address
Rue Michel Ange 3
75794 Paris
France
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 630 155

Participants (4)

UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 742 318,75
Address
Woodhouse Lane
LS2 9JT Leeds
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
CONSIGLIO NAZIONALE DELLE RICERCHE
Italy
EU contribution
€ 620 537,50
Address
Piazzale Aldo Moro 7
00185 Roma
Activity type
Research Organisations
UNIVERSITE PARIS-SACLAY
France
EU contribution
€ 341 138,75
Address
Immeuble Technologique Entree B Rte De L Orme Aux Merisiers
91190 Saint Aubin
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
UNIVERSITAET REGENSBURG
Germany
EU contribution
€ 464 295
Address
Universitatsstrasse 31
93053 Regensburg
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments