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Mid-infrared optical dual-comb generation and spectroscopy with one unstabilized semiconductor laser

Objective

ONE-MIX proposes to develop single-source dual-comb lasers for mid-infrared (2-5 μm wavelength)
spectroscopy, potentially enabling many new applications in science and industry, such as environment, safety,
pharma, and health. This proposal extends our recent demonstration of a dual-comb MIXSEL (Modelocked
Integrated eXternal-cavity Surface Emitting Lasers) in the near-infrared, validated by measuring weak water
absorption at 968 nm. Many more relevant gas absorption lines, however, are in the mid-infrared, where
sensitivities of parts-per-billion can be achieved.
Dual-comb mid-IR spectroscopy applications are currently limited by the cost, complexity, and size of
conventional optical comb systems, based on two modelocked lasers with four active stabilization loops. The
single-source dual-comb MIXSEL, however, substantially reduces the complexity of existing systems to a
single compact free-running laser. In comparison to other competing new approaches such as quantum cascade
lasers or micro resonator combs, the MIXSEL provides substantially more power per comb line with low
linewidth and noise, and is ideally suited for a 1 to 5 GHz comb spacing, which is optimal for many molecular
spectroscopy applications, allowing for fast, accurate, and sensitive absorption measurements.
This proposal leverages our know-how in MIXSEL design combined with III-V semiconductor epitaxy to
demonstrate this new class of lasers in the mid-IR, enabling simpler, lower-cost systems with sufficient speed
and sensitivity for many relevant and commercially interesting applications in the 2 to 5 μm spectral region,
such as CO2 , CH4, or NOx trace gas detection. We propose to extend the near-IR MIXSELs to the mid-IR by
combining two validated semiconductor approaches – using type-II gain quantum wells combined with a type-
I saturable absorber quantum wells, fabricated with existing GaSb (gallium-antimonide) molecular beam
epitaxy systems operated out of the FIRST lab at ETH Zurich.
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Host institution

EIDGENOESSISCHE TECHNISCHE HOCHSCHULE ZUERICH

Address

Raemistrasse 101
8092 Zuerich

Switzerland

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 3 210 000

Beneficiaries (1)

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EIDGENOESSISCHE TECHNISCHE HOCHSCHULE ZUERICH

Switzerland

EU Contribution

€ 3 210 000

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 787097

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 January 2019

  • End date

    31 December 2023

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 3 210 000

  • EU contribution

    € 3 210 000

Hosted by:

EIDGENOESSISCHE TECHNISCHE HOCHSCHULE ZUERICH

Switzerland