The European Union-funded CLARITY project has announced results that will help photonics researchers better understand and improve quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) and mid-infrared fibers, and provide the basis for highly efficient mid- to near-infrared conversion. The CLARITY project (Compact uLtrA-efficient mid-infRared photonIc sysTems based on low noise quantum cascade laser sources, wide band frequencY converters and near infrared photodetectors) began in 2011, and consists of a consortium of six research organizations from Greece (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens), France (III-V Lab and CEA-LETI), Germany (Technische Universität Darmstadt), UK (University of Southampton), and Norway (Norsk Elektro Optikk).
The project leaders say that highlights include a reduction of the relative intensity noise of a QCL by 9.5 dB demonstrated in an injection locking experiment; development of the first CW distributed-feedback QCL arrays with a tunablity of typically more than 100 cm-1, enabling multi-gas and heavy molecule spectroscopy; demonstration of a significant loss-reduction of telluride glass fibers in the 3-4 µm range; and conversion from 2650 nm to 1770 nm in SiGe-based nanowaveguides.
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This last achievment is especially of interest since the mid-IR region suffers from a lack of suitably fast detectors for spectroscopy and optical communication. The specifications (noise level, response time, etc) of common mercury cadmium telluride detectors are orders of magnitude worse than those in the near-IR. Therefore a conversion of mid- to near-IR light is desired to be able to utilize the advantages of highly sophisticated near-IR detector technology. The experiments and good agreement with theoretical predictions have led the consortium to believe that in the near future wavelength conversion with record performance will be demonstrated so that silicon-based nonlinear converters will soon outperform traditional mid-IR detectors.
Click here for a list of the related CLARITY peer reviewed articles.
Recent article in OSA's Optics InfoBase: Towards nonlinear conversion from mid- to near-infrared wavelengths using Silicon Germanium waveguides
For more information see www.clarity-project.eu or contact the project coordinator:
Professor Dimitris Syvridis
Optical Communications Laboratory
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Dept. of Informatics and Telecommunications
Panepistimiopolis, Ilissia, Athens 15784, Greece
Tel: +30 210 727 5322
Email: [email protected]