Spectral purity and tunability of terahertz quantum cascade laser sources based on intracavity difference-frequency generation

Luigi Consolino, Seungyong Jung, Annamaria Campa, Michele De Regis, Shovon Pal, Jae Hyun Kim, Kazuue Fujita, Akio Ito, Masahiro Hitaka, Saverio Bartalini, Paolo De Natale, Mikhail A. Belkin, Miriam Serena Vitiello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Terahertz sources based on intracavity difference-frequency generation in mid-infrared quantum cascade lasers (THz DFG-QCLs) have recently emerged as the first monolithic electrically pumped semiconductor sources capable of operating at room temperature across the 1- to 6-THz range. Despite tremendous progress in power output, which now exceeds 1 mW in pulsed and 10 mW in continuous-wave regimes at room temperature, knowledge of the major figure of merits of these devices for high-precision spectroscopy, such as spectral purity and absolute frequency tunability, is still lacking. By exploiting a metrological grade system comprising a terahertz frequency comb synthesizer, we measure, for the first time, the free-running emission linewidth (LW), the tuning characteristics, and the absolute center frequency of individual emission lines of these sources with an uncertainty of 4 × 10-10. The unveiled emission LW (400 kHz at 1-ms integration time) indicates that DFG-QCLs are well suited to operate as local oscillators and to be used for a variety of metrological, spectroscopic, communication, and imaging applications that require narrow-LW THz sources.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1603317
JournalScience Advances
Volume3
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes

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