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Diode Optical Parametric Oscillator

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Internship director : Giuseppe Leo
e-mail :
Phone number : 01 57 27 62 27 - 06 67 44 38 73
Funding : YES       type of funding : DGA, CEA.
Techniques to be used : Optical and electron-transport modeling ; integrated optics measurements.
Required qualities : excellent studies, taste for experimental research, teamwork attitude.

The Optical Parametric Oscillator (OPO), one of today’s most known optical devices, can be functionally defined as a widely tunable coherent source. Like the laser, it is based on the resonant feedback provided to an optical amplifier by a cavity. Unlike the laser, it relies on parametric amplification instead of stimulated emission and population inversion. This project aims at demonstrating the first electrically pumped OPO. Such result will constitute a major scientific breakthrough because at variance with the laser, whose heterostructure diode version has spurred the field of photonics, the quest for an electrically injected monolithic OPO is still open half a century after the original demonstration of the OPO.
Today OPOs, pumped by conventional lasers, are available under very different time, spectral and power formats. Large segments of the related technology are at a mature stage for several industrial, military, health and environmental applications, with new commercial products being launched on the market at a growing rate. However, most of this market is still very connected to research mainly because of the limited portability of the current OPOs. Such limitation will be overcome by the diode-OPO (DOPO) to be developed in this project, which will emit in the near infrared (1.5-3.5 µm) under CW operation at room temperature. The DOPO source that we will develop relies on intracavity parametric generation in a deeply etched narrow-stripe QD laser diode. Here the main advantage of using QDs is related to their ability to trap charge carriers and quench diffusion toward non-radiative recombination centers. For lasers, this effect enables the fabrication of deeply etched narrow-stripe (few µm) laser diodes with threshold currents comparable to those of broad area devices. This is the key for the demonstration of a DOPO, since the width of such narrow deeply etched ridge waveguides constitutes a very efficient degree of freedom to ensure phase matching in diode OPOs.
The demonstration of a diode OPO would be a disruptive achievement for : the telecom range around 1.55 µm and the eye-safe 2-3.5 µm window, which is widely used for gas sensing, security and medical applications. The availability of diode OPOs would induce a true revolution in both these fields due to their compactness, wide tunability, energetic efficiency and low cost, with a possible impact on sensors for environmental or medical monitoring.
Building on a MPQ/CEA patent and a forefront research funded by ANR during A. Bernard’s PhD thesis, this project is inscribed in the framework of a world-level collaboration between MPQ (G. Leo), CEA (J.M. Gérard) and III-V Lab (B. Gérard, M. Krakowski).