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1.
Opt Lett ; 44(23): 5663-5666, 2019 Dec 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31774748

RESUMO

Owing to their intrinsic stability against optical feedback (OF), quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) represent a uniquely versatile source to further improve self-mixing interferometry at mid-infrared and terahertz (THz) frequencies. Here, we show the feasibility of detecting with nanometer precision, the deeply subwavelength ($\lt \lambda /6000$<λ/6000) mechanical vibrations of a suspended ${{\rm Si}_3}{{\rm N}_4}$Si3N4 membrane used as the external element of a THz QCL feedback interferometer. Besides representing an extension of the applicability of vibrometric characterization at THz frequencies, our system can be exploited for the realization of optomechanical applications, such as dynamical switching between different OF regimes and a still-lacking THz master-slave configuration.

2.
Opt Express ; 27(15): 20231-20240, 2019 Jul 22.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31510121

RESUMO

Miniaturized frequency combs (FCs) can be self-generated at terahertz (THz) frequencies through four-wave mixing in the cavity of a quantum cascade laser (QCL). To date, however, stable comb operation is only observed over a small operational current range in which the bias-depended chromatic dispersion is compensated. As most dispersion compensation techniques in the THz range are not tunable, this limits the spectral coverage of the comb and the emitted output power, restricting potential applications in, for example, metrology and ultrashort THz pulse generation. Here, we demonstrate an alternative architecture that provides a tunable, lithographically independent, control of the free-running coherence properties of THz QCL FCs. This is achieved by integrating an on-chip tightly coupled mirror with the QCL cavity, providing an external cavity and hence a tunable Gires Tournois interferometer (GTI). By finely adjusting the gap between the GTI and the back-facet of an ultra-broadband, high dynamic range QCL, we attain wide dispersion compensation regions, where stable and narrow (~3 kHz linewidth) single beatnotes extend over an operation range that is significantly larger than that of dispersion-dominated bare laser cavity counterparts. Significant reduction of the phase noise is registered over the whole QCL spectral bandwidth (1.35 THz). This agile accommodation of a tunable dispersion compensator will help enable uptake of QCL-combs for metrological, spectroscopic and quantum technology-oriented applications.

3.
Nat Commun ; 10(1): 2938, 2019 Jul 03.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31270325

RESUMO

Miniaturized frequency comb sources across hard-to-access spectral regions, i.e. mid- and far-infrared, have long been sought. Four-wave-mixing based Quantum Cascade Laser combs (QCL-combs) are ideal candidates, in this respect, due to the unique possibility to tailor their spectral emission by proper nanoscale design of the quantum wells. We demonstrate full-phase-stabilization of a QCL-comb against the primary frequency standard, proving independent and simultaneous control of the two comb degrees of freedom (modes spacing and frequency offset) at a metrological level. Each emitted mode exhibits a sub-Hz relative frequency stability, while a correlation analysis on the modal phases confirms the high degree of coherence in the device emission, over different power-cycles and over different days. The achievement of fully controlled, phase-stabilized QCL-comb emitters proves that this technology is mature for metrological-grade uses, as well as for an increasing number of scientific and technological applications.

4.
Light Sci Appl ; 8: 43, 2019.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31044073

RESUMO

Random lasers are a class of devices in which feedback arises from multiple elastic scattering in a highly disordered structure, providing an almost ideal light source for artefact-free imaging due to achievable low spatial coherence. However, for many applications ranging from sensing and spectroscopy to speckle-free imaging, it is essential to have high-radiance sources operating in continuous-wave (CW). In this paper, we demonstrate CW operation of a random laser using an electrically pumped quantum-cascade laser gain medium in which a bi-dimensional (2D) random distribution of air holes is patterned into the top metal waveguide. We obtain a highly collimated vertical emission at ~3 THz, with a 430 GHz bandwidth, device operation up to 110 K, peak (pulsed) power of 21 mW, and CW emission of 1.7 mW. Furthermore, we show that an external cavity formed with a movable mirror can be used to tune a random laser, obtaining continuous frequency tuning over 11 GHz.

5.
Opt Express ; 27(7): 10221-10233, 2019 Apr 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31045166

RESUMO

We report a coherent terahertz (THz) imaging system that utilises a quantum cascade laser (QCL) operating in pulsed-mode as both the source and detector. The realisation of a short-pulsed THz QCL feedback interferometer permits both high peak powers and improved thermal efficiency, which enables the cryogen-free operation of the system. In this work, we demonstrated pulsed-mode swept-frequency laser feedback interferometry experimentally. Our interferometric detection scheme not only permits the simultaneous creation of both amplitude and phase images, but inherently suppresses unwanted background radiation. We demonstrate that the proposed system utilising microsecond pulses has the potential to achieve 0.25 mega-pixel per second acquisition rates, paving the pathway to video frame rate THz imaging.

6.
Opt Express ; 27(3): 2248-2257, 2019 Feb 04.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30732264

RESUMO

Intersubband (ISB) transitions in semiconductor multi-quantum well (MQW) structures are promising candidates for the development of saturable absorbers at terahertz (THz) frequencies. Here, we exploit amplitude and phase-resolved two-dimensional (2D) THz spectroscopy on the sub-cycle time scale to observe directly the saturation dynamics and coherent control of ISB transitions in a metal-insulator MQW structure. Clear signatures of incoherent pump-probe and coherent four-wave mixing signals are recorded as a function of the peak electric field of the single-cycle THz pulses. All nonlinear signals reach a pronounced maximum for a THz electric field amplitude of 11 kV/cm and decrease for higher fields. We demonstrate that this behavior is a fingerprint of THz-driven carrier-wave Rabi flopping. A numerical solution of the Maxwell-Bloch equations reproduces our experimental findings quantitatively and traces the trajectory of the Bloch vector. This microscopic model allows us to design tailored MQW structures with optimized dynamical properties for saturable absorbers that could be used in future compact semiconductor-based single-cycle THz sources.

7.
Sci Rep ; 8(1): 17648, 2018 Nov 30.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30504784

RESUMO

A correction to this article has been published and is linked from the HTML and PDF versions of this paper. The error has been fixed in the paper.

8.
Nat Commun ; 9(1): 5181, 2018 11 30.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30504849

RESUMO

The original version of this Article contained an error in the Acknowledgements, which incorrectly omitted the following: 'We also acknowledge support from the Australian Research Council's Discovery Projects Funding Scheme (Grant DP 160 103910).' This has been corrected in both the PDF and HTML versions of the Article.

9.
Nat Commun ; 9(1): 3076, 2018 08 06.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30082762

RESUMO

Single-mode frequency-tuneable semiconductor lasers based on monolithic integration of multiple cavity sections are important components, widely used in optical communications, photonic integrated circuits and other optical technologies. To date, investigations of the ultrafast switching processes in such lasers, essential to reduce frequency cross-talk, have been restricted to the observation of intensity switching over nanosecond-timescales. Here, we report coherent measurements of the ultrafast switch-on dynamics, mode competition and frequency selection in a monolithic frequency-tuneable laser using coherent time-domain sampling of the laser emission. This approach allows us to observe hopping between lasing modes on picosecond-timescales and the temporal evolution of transient multi-mode emission into steady-state single mode emission. The underlying physics is explained through a full multi-mode, temperature-dependent carrier and photon transport model. Our results show that the fundamental limit on the timescales of frequency-switching between competing modes varies with the underlying Vernier alignment of the laser cavity.

10.
Opt Express ; 26(14): 18423-18435, 2018 Jul 09.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30114022

RESUMO

At terahertz (THz) frequencies, scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy (s-SNOM) based on continuous wave sources mostly relies on cryogenic and bulky detectors, which represents a major constraint for its practical application. Here, we devise a THz s-SNOM system that provides both amplitude and phase contrast and achieves nanoscale (60-70nm) in-plane spatial resolution. It features a quantum cascade laser that simultaneously emits THz frequency light and senses the backscattered optical field through a voltage modulation induced inherently through the self-mixing technique. We demonstrate its performance by probing a phonon-polariton-resonant CsBr crystal and doped black phosphorus flakes.

11.
Opt Lett ; 43(10): 2225-2228, 2018 May 15.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29762559

RESUMO

We demonstrate a gas spectroscopy technique, using self-mixing in a 3.4 terahertz quantum-cascade laser (QCL). All previous QCL spectroscopy techniques have required additional terahertz instrumentation (detectors, mixers, or spectrometers) for system pre-calibration or spectral analysis. By contrast, our system self-calibrates the laser frequency (i.e., with no external instrumentation) to a precision of 630 MHz (0.02%) by analyzing QCL voltage perturbations in response to optical feedback within a 0-800 mm round-trip delay line. We demonstrate methanol spectroscopy by introducing a gas cell into the feedback path and show that a limiting absorption coefficient of â¼1×10-4 cm-1 is resolvable.

12.
Nat Commun ; 9(1): 1122, 2018 03 16.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29549267

RESUMO

Terahertz (THz) quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) have undergone rapid development since their demonstration, showing high power, broad-tunability, quantum-limited linewidth, and ultra-broadband gain. Typically, to address applications needs, continuous-wave (CW) operation, low-divergent beam profiles and fine spectral control of the emitted radiation, are required. This, however, is very difficult to achieve in practice. Lithographic patterning has been extensively used to this purpose (via distributed feedback (DFB), photonic crystals or microcavities), to optimize either the beam divergence or the emission frequency, or, both of them simultaneously, in third-order DFBs, via a demanding fabrication procedure that precisely constrains the mode index to 3. Here, we demonstrate wire DFB THz QCLs, in which feedback is provided by a sinusoidal corrugation of the cavity, defining the frequency, while light extraction is ensured by an array of surface holes. This new architecture, extendable to a broad range of far-infrared frequencies, has led to the achievement of low-divergent beams (10°), single-mode emission, high slope efficiencies (250 mW/A), and stable CW operation.

13.
Nature ; 556(7699): 85-88, 2018 04 05.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29579743

RESUMO

Room-temperature operation is essential for any optoelectronics technology that aims to provide low-cost, compact systems for widespread applications. A recent technological advance in this direction is bolometric detection for thermal imaging, which has achieved relatively high sensitivity and video rates (about 60 hertz) at room temperature. However, owing to thermally induced dark current, room-temperature operation is still a great challenge for semiconductor photodetectors targeting the wavelength band between 8 and 12 micrometres, and all relevant applications, such as imaging, environmental remote sensing and laser-based free-space communication, have been realized at low temperatures. For these devices, high sensitivity and high speed have never been compatible with high-temperature operation. Here we show that a long-wavelength (nine micrometres) infrared quantum-well photodetector fabricated from a metamaterial made of sub-wavelength metallic resonators exhibits strongly enhanced performance with respect to the state of the art up to room temperature. This occurs because the photonic collection area of each resonator is much larger than its electrical area, thus substantially reducing the dark current of the device. Furthermore, we show that our photonic architecture overcomes intrinsic limitations of the material, such as the drop of the electronic drift velocity with temperature, which constrains conventional geometries at cryogenic operation. Finally, the reduced physical area of the device and its increased responsivity allow us to take advantage of the intrinsic high-frequency response of the quantum detector at room temperature. By mixing the frequencies of two quantum-cascade lasers on the detector, which acts as a heterodyne receiver, we have measured a high-frequency signal, above four gigahertz (GHz). Therefore, these wide-band uncooled detectors could benefit technologies such as high-speed (gigabits per second) multichannel coherent data transfer and high-precision molecular spectroscopy.

14.
Opt Express ; 26(2): 1942-1953, 2018 Jan 22.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29401915

RESUMO

A terahertz master-oscillation power-amplifier quantum cascade laser (THz-MOPA-QCL) is demonstrated where a grating coupler is employed to efficiently extract the THz radiation. By maximizing the group velocity and eliminating the scattering of THz wave in the grating coupler, the residue reflectivity is reduced down to the order of 10-3. A buried DFB grating and a tapered preamplifier are proposed to improve the seed power and to reduce the gain saturation, respectively. The THz-MOPA-QCL exhibits single-mode emission, a single-lobed beam with a narrow divergence angle of 18° × 16°, and a pulsed output power of 136 mW at 20 K, which is 36 times that of a second-order DFB laser from the same material.

15.
Opt Express ; 25(18): 21753-21761, 2017 Sep 04.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29041469

RESUMO

Two-dimensional spectroscopy is performed on a terahertz (THz) frequency quantum cascade laser (QCL) with two broadband THz pulses. Gain switching is used to amplify the first THz pulse and the second THz pulse is used to probe the system. Fourier transforms are taken with respect to the delay time between the two THz pulses and the sampling time of the THz probe pulse. The two-dimensional spectrum consists of three peaks at (ωτ = 0, ωt = ω0), (ωτ = ω0, ωt = ω0), and (ωτ = 2ω0, ωt = ω0) where ω0 denotes the lasing frequency. The peak at ωτ = 0 represents the response of the probe to the zero-frequency (rectified) component of the instantaneous intensity and can be used to measure the gain recovery.

16.
Sci Rep ; 7(1): 7236, 2017 08 03.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28775327

RESUMO

The effects of optical feedback (OF) in lasers have been observed since the early days of laser development. While OF can result in undesirable and unpredictable operation in laser systems, it can also cause measurable perturbations to the operating parameters, which can be harnessed for metrological purposes. In this work we exploit this 'self-mixing' effect to infer the emission spectrum of a semiconductor laser using a laser-feedback interferometer, in which the terminal voltage of the laser is used to coherently sample the reinjected field. We demonstrate this approach using a terahertz frequency quantum cascade laser operating in both single- and multiple-longitudinal mode regimes, and are able to resolve spectral features not reliably resolved using traditional Fourier transform spectroscopy. We also investigate quantitatively the frequency perturbation of individual laser modes under OF, and find excellent agreement with predictions of the excess phase equation central to the theory of lasers under OF.

17.
Nat Commun ; 8: 15763, 2017 06 15.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28643788

RESUMO

Saturable absorbers (SA) operating at terahertz (THz) frequencies can open new frontiers in the development of passively mode-locked THz micro-sources. Here we report the fabrication of THz SAs by transfer coating and inkjet printing single and few-layer graphene films prepared by liquid phase exfoliation of graphite. Open-aperture z-scan measurements with a 3.5 THz quantum cascade laser show a transparency modulation â¼80%, almost one order of magnitude larger than that reported to date at THz frequencies. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy provides evidence of intraband-controlled absorption bleaching. These results pave the way to the integration of graphene-based SA with electrically pumped THz semiconductor micro-sources, with prospects for applications where excitation of specific transitions on short time scales is essential, such as time-of-flight tomography, coherent manipulation of quantum systems, time-resolved spectroscopy of gases, complex molecules and cold samples and ultra-high speed communications, providing unprecedented compactness and resolution.

18.
Opt Express ; 25(9): 10177-10188, 2017 May 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28468392

RESUMO

We report the generation mechanism associated with nano-grating electrode photomixers fabricated on Fe-doped InGaAsP substrates. Two different emitter designs incorporating nano-gratings coupled to the same broadband antenna were characterized in a continuous-wave terahertz (THz) frequency system employing telecommunications wavelength lasers for generation and coherent detection. The current-voltage characteristics and THz emission bandwidth of the emitters is compared for different bias polarities and optical polarisations. The THz output from the emitters is also mapped as a function of the position of the laser excitation spot for both continuous-wave and pulsed excitation. This mapping, together with full-wave simulations of the structures, confirms the generation mechanism to be due to an enhanced optical electric field at the grating tips resulting in increased optical absorption, coinciding with a concentration of the electrostatic field.

19.
Sci Rep ; 7: 41872, 2017 02 02.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28150746

RESUMO

The ability to isolate specific, viable cell populations from mixed ensembles with minimal manipulation and within intra-operative time would provide significant advantages for autologous, cell-based therapies in regenerative medicine. Current cell-enrichment technologies are either slow, lack specificity and/or require labelling. Thus a rapid, label-free separation technology that does not affect cell functionality, viability or phenotype is highly desirable. Here, we demonstrate separation of viable from non-viable human stromal cells using remote dielectrophoresis, in which an electric field is coupled into a microfluidic channel using shear-horizontal surface acoustic waves, producing an array of virtual electrodes within the channel. This allows high-throughput dielectrophoretic cell separation in high conductivity, physiological-like fluids, overcoming the limitations of conventional dielectrophoresis. We demonstrate viable/non-viable separation efficacy of >98% in pre-purified mesenchymal stromal cells, extracted from human dental pulp, with no adverse effects on cell viability, or on their subsequent osteogenic capabilities.

Assuntos
Separação Celular/métodos , Microfluídica/métodos , Separação Celular/instrumentação , Células Cultivadas , Polpa Dentária/citologia , Eletroforese/instrumentação , Eletroforese/métodos , Humanos , Células-Tronco Mesenquimais/citologia , Microfluídica/instrumentação , Saccharomyces cerevisiae/citologia , Sonicação/instrumentação , Sonicação/métodos
20.
Opt Express ; 25(1): 486-496, 2017 Jan 09.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28085842

RESUMO

We demonstrate quasi-continuous tuning of the emission frequency from coupled cavity terahertz frequency quantum cascade lasers. Such coupled cavity lasers comprise a lasing cavity and a tuning cavity which are optically coupled through a narrow air slit and are operated above and below the lasing threshold current, respectively. The emission frequency of these devices is determined by the Vernier resonance of longitudinal modes in the lasing and the tuning cavities, and can be tuned by applying an index perturbation in the tuning cavity. The spectral coverage of the coupled cavity devices have been increased by reducing the repetition frequency of the Vernier resonance and increasing the ratio of the free spectral ranges of the two cavities. A continuous tuning of the coupled cavity modes has been realized through an index perturbation of the lasing cavity itself by using wide electrical heating pulses at the tuning cavity and exploiting thermal conduction through the monolithic substrate. Single mode emission and discrete frequency tuning over a bandwidth of 100 GHz and a quasi-continuous frequency coverage of 7 GHz at 2.25 THz is demonstrated. An improvement in the side mode suppression and a continuous spectral coverage of 3 GHz is achieved without any degradation of output power by integrating a π-phase shifted photonic lattice in the laser cavity.