Wideband-tuneable, nanotube mode-locked, fibre laser

Frank Wang, Aleksey Rozhin, Zhipei Sun, Vittorio Scardaci, Ian H. White, Frank Hennrich, William I. Milne, Andrea C. Ferrari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ultrashort-pulse lasers with spectral tuning capability have widespread applications in fields such as spectroscopy, biomedical research and telecommunications1–3. Mode-locked fibre lasers are convenient and powerful sources of ultrashort pulses4, and the inclusion of a broadband saturable absorber as a passive optical switch inside the laser cavity may offer tuneability over a range of wavelengths5. Semiconductor saturable absorber mirrors are widely used in fibre lasers4–6, but their operating range is typically limited to a few tens of nanometres7,8, and their fabrication can be challenging in the 1.3–1.5 mm wavelength region used for optical communications9,10. Single-walled carbon nanotubes are excellent saturable absorbers because of their subpicosecond recovery time, low saturation intensity, polarization insensitivity, and mechanical and environmental robustness11–16. Here, we engineer a nanotube–polycarbonate film with a wide bandwidth (>300 nm) around 1.55 mm, and then use it to demonstrate a 2.4 ps Er31-doped fibre laser that is tuneable from 1,518 to 1,558 nm. In principle, different diameters and chiralities of nanotubes could be combined to enable compact, mode-locked fibre lasers that are tuneable over a much broader range of wavelengths than other systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)738-742
Number of pages5
JournalNature Nanotechnology
Issue number2 November 2008
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008


  • ultrashort-pulse lasers
  • spectral tuning capability
  • spectroscopy
  • mode-locked fibre lasers
  • broadband saturable absorber
  • semiconductor saturable absorber mirrors
  • carbon nanotubes


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