Over the last 20 years, femtosecond lasers have led to a host of novel scientific and industrial instrumentation enabling the direct measurement of optical frequencies and the realization of optical clocks, a Nobel Prize winning technology. Initially developed for fundamental science, the potential of femtosecond lasers for a wide range of cross-disciplinary applications has been demonstrated, including e.g. those in optical telecommunication, photonic analog-to-digital conversion, ultra-high precision signal sources for the upcoming quantum technologies and broadband optical spectroscopy in the environmental or bio-medical sciences and many more.
Although, impressive cross-disciplinary demonstrations of the potential of femtosecond lasers are numerous, the technology has been hampered by its large size and high cost per system. The existing mode-locked semiconductor diode laser technology does not fulfil the needed performance specifications. The aim of the FEMTOCHIP project is to deliver a fully integrated chip-scale mode-locked laser with pulse energy, peak power and jitter specifications of a shoebox sized fiber laser system enabling a large fraction of the above-mentioned applications. Key challenges addressed are large cross-section, high gain, low background loss waveguide amplifiers, low loss passive waveguide technology and chirped waveguide gratings to accommodate high pulse peak power, to suppress Q-switching instabilities and to implement short pulse production by on-chip dispersion compensation and artificial saturable absorption.
Therefore, the FEMTOCHIP consortium is composed of leaders in CMOS compatible ultra-low loss integrated SiN-photonics, rare-earth gain media development and deposition technology as well as ultrafast laser physics and technology for design, simulation and characterization to identify and address the key challenges in demonstrating a highly stable integrated femtosecond laser with table-top performance.
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Funding SchemeRIA - Research and Innovation action