EU CLARITY project pushes closer to new mid-infrared systems

May 27, 2014
The EU-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 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.

Related article: QCL-based sensors target health and environmental applications by Jonathan Hu and Claire Gmachl

Related article: Novel fiber lasers offer new capabilities by contributing editor Jeff Hecht

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]

About the Author

Conard Holton | Editor at Large

Conard Holton has 25 years of science and technology editing and writing experience. He was formerly a staff member and consultant for government agencies such as the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the International Atomic Energy Agency, and engineering companies such as Bechtel. He joined Laser Focus World in 1997 as senior editor, becoming editor in chief of WDM Solutions, which he founded in 1999. In 2003 he joined Vision Systems Design as editor in chief, while continuing as contributing editor at Laser Focus World. Conard became editor in chief of Laser Focus World in August 2011, a role in which he served through August 2018. He then served as Editor at Large for Laser Focus World and Co-Chair of the Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar from August 2018 through January 2022. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, with additional studies at the Colorado School of Mines and Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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