Ultrashort pulse generation from diode laser devices

  • Youfang Hu

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis presents a detailed, experiment-based study of generation of ultrashort optical pulses from diode lasers. Simple and cost-effective techniques were used to generate high power, high quality optical short pulses at various wavelength windows. The major achievements presented in the thesis is summarised as follows.
High power pulses generation is one of the major topics discussed in the thesis. Although gain switching is the simplest way for ultrashort pulse generation, it proves to be quite effective to deliver high energy pulses on condition that the pumping pulses with extremely fast rising time and high enough amplitude are applied on specially designed pulse generators. In the experiment on a grating-coupled surface emitting laser (GCSEL), peak power as high as 1W was achieved even when its spectral bandwidth was controlled within 0.2nm. Another experiment shows violet picosecond pulses with peak power as high as 7W was achieved when the intensive electrical pulses were applied on optimised DC bias to pump on InGaN violet diode laser. The physical mechanism of this phenomenon, as we considered, may attributed to the self-organised quantum dots structure in the laser.
Control of pulse quality, including spectral quality and temporal profile, is an important issue for high power pulse generation. The ways to control pulse quality described in the thesis are also based on simple and effective techniques. For instance, GCSEL used in our experiment has a specially designed air-grating structure for out-coupling of optical signals; hence, a tiny flat aluminium mirror was placed closed to the grating section and resulted in a wavelength tuning range over 100nm and the best side band suppression ratio of 40dB. Self-seeding, as an effective technique for spectral control of pulsed lasers, was demonstrated for the first time in a violet diode laser. In addition, control of temporal profile of the pulse is demonstrated in an overdriven DFB laser. Wavelength tuneable fibre Bragg gratings were used to tailor the huge energy tail of the high power pulse. The whole system was compact and robust.
The ultimate purpose of our study is to design a new family of compact ultrafast diode lasers. Some practical ideas of laser design based on gain-switched and Q-switched devices are also provided in the end.
Date of AwardMay 2005
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorI Y Khrushchev (Supervisor)


  • ultrashort pulse generation
  • diode lasers
  • high power

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