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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.

Call for proposal

H2020-FETOPEN-2014-2015

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Sub call

H2020-FETOPEN-2014-2015-RIA

Coordinator

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE CNRS
Net EU contribution
€ 630 155,00
Address
Rue Michel Ange 3
75794 Paris
France

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Region
Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Activity type
Research Organisations
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00

Participants (4)

UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS
United Kingdom
Net EU contribution
€ 742 318,75
Address
Woodhouse Lane
LS2 9JT Leeds

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Region
Yorkshire and the Humber West Yorkshire Leeds
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00
CONSIGLIO NAZIONALE DELLE RICERCHE
Italy
Net EU contribution
€ 620 537,50
Address
Piazzale Aldo Moro 7
00185 Roma

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Region
Centro (IT) Lazio Roma
Activity type
Research Organisations
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00
UNIVERSITE PARIS-SACLAY
France
Net EU contribution
€ 341 138,75
Address
Batiment Breguet - 3 Rue Joliot Curie
91190 Gif-sur-yvette

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Region
Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Essonne
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00
UNIVERSITAET REGENSBURG
Germany
Net EU contribution
€ 464 295,00
Address
Universitatsstrasse 31
93053 Regensburg

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Region
Bayern Oberpfalz Regensburg, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00