Mid infrared frequency combs allow for high resolution absorption spectroscopy of molecular species, which have strong signatures in this spectral region. Dual comb spectroscopy can provide broadband and high-resolution capability, but requires two fully stabilized frequency combs which adds complexity to the system.
Previous work has demonstrated that frequency combs coupled with a high resolution spectrometer, consisting of a virtually imaged phased array (VIPA) along with a grating, can perform time-resolved, broadband and high- resolution absorption spectroscopy with a single frequency comb. The VIPA spectrometer disperses the spectrum in two dimensions and images it onto a focal plane detector array. If the comb teeth can be resolved, the VIPA is easily calibrated and provides comb-tooth resolved resolution and accuracy. However, in previous work, the repetition rate of the laser sources used was too low to be resolved directly, and additional passive "filter cavities" had to be employed to increase the effective repetition rate of the frequency comb. In this work we use a fully stabilized mid infrared frequency comb based on a 1.6 GHz repetition rate modelocked vertical external cavity surface emitting laser (VECSEL) and difference frequency generation to produce an off set free comb in the 3- 4 micron wavelength range. The source is directly coupled to the VIPA spectrometer to provide comb-tooth resolved absorption spectroscopy. We discuss the system's performance in gas absorption spectroscopy and its time resolving capabilities, which are limited only by the speed of the detector system.
The mid-infrared (MIR) region above 3 microns is of great interest for spectroscopic applications. Because it is difficult to produce mode-locked laser sources that emit natively in this region, difference frequency generation (DFG) is a popular method to produce mid-IR output using more traditional laser oscillators. Previous examples include fiber based DFG sources and OPOs, which are typically limited to repetition rates on the order of tens to hundreds of MHz. VECSELs allow access to higher repetition rates, while the use of highly nonlinear waveguides enables the requisite spectral broadening despite the lower pulse energy. In this work we present a VECSEL-based frequency comb that uses DFG to produce output in the 3-4 micron range. This system is based on a mode-locked VECSEL emitting at a 1030 nm wavelength with a 1.6 GHz repetition rate. A Yb fiber amplification system is used to increase the power to over 10W and compress the pulses to sub-90 fs. Coherent spectral broadening out to 1560 nm is achieved with a nonlinear waveguide. By combining the 1030 nm and 1560 nm beams in a PPLN DFG crystal, 290 mW of mid IR output between 3.0 and 3.5 microns is produced. Since the DFG light is produced by two wavelengths from the same oscillator, the carrier envelope offset frequency is cancelled, producing an offset free comb requiring stabilization of only a single degree of freedom. We characterize this VECSEL based frequency comb and discuss the advantages it provides for spectroscopic applications.
We present preliminary results showing the potential of VECSEL technology for the generation of high power coherent supercontinuum. Among these results, we demonstrate a stable output power of 16 W with a pulse duration of 71 fs and a repetition rate of 1.7 GHz from a VECSEL oscillator and Ytterbium fiber amplifier. This system was used to generate a coherent supercontinuum averaging 3 W of power using a highly nonlinear photonic crystal fiber. In addition, we discuss the possible methods for the detection and stabilization of the carrier offset frequency. The beatnote between a VECSEL seeded supercontinuum and an external CW laser reveals a relatively stable signal, well above the detection noise. A discussion about system design considerations for noise reduction and increased offset frequency stability is also included.
Here we present the gain and SESAM structure design strategy employed for the demonstration of ultrashort pulses and we present a comprehensive study outlining the influence of the cavity geometry on the pulse duration and peak power achievable with a state of the art VECSEL and SESAM structure. We will discuss the physical mechanisms limiting the output power with near 100fs pulses and we will compare experimental results obtained with different cavity geometries, including a V-shaped cavity, a multi-fold cavity, and a ring cavity in a colliding pulse modelocking scheme. The experimental results are supported by numerical simulations.
We present a passive and robust mode-locking scheme for a Vertical External Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VECSEL).We placed the semiconductor gain medium and the semiconductor saturable absorber mirror (SESAM) strategically in a ring cavity to provide a stable colliding pulse operation. With this cavity geometry, the two counter propagating pulses synchronize on the SESAM to saturate the absorber together. This minimizes the energy lost and creates a transient carrier grating due to the interference of the two beams. The interaction of the two counter-propagating pulses in the SESAM is shown to extend the range of the modelocking regime and to enable higher output power when compared to the conventional VECSEL cavity geometry. In this configuration, we demonstrate a pulse duration of 195fs with an average power of 225mW per output beam at a repetition rate of 2.2GHz, giving a peak power of 460W per beam. The remarkable robustness of the modelocking regime is discussed and a rigorous pulse characterization is presented.