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Single-longitudinal-mode semiconductor laser with digital and mode-hop-free fine-tuning mechanisms

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We report a novel external cavity laser diode (λ=1.5 µm). An intra-cavity liquid crystal pixel mirror allows digitally tuning of the laser wavelength to more than 40 wavelength channels of 100 GHz spacing according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) grid. Laser wavelength can further be fine-tuned by varying the driving voltages applied to an intra-cavity planar nematic liquid crystal phase plate. With a cell 52.3 µm in thickness, the output frequency can be continuously tuned over 1.89 GHz. The root-mean-square voltage required for driving the phase plate was from 1.00 to 4.56 volts.

©2004 Optical Society of America

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Figures (4)

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1. Schematic diagram of the ECDL digitally tuned with the LCPM (see inset) and fine-tuned with an intracavity NLC phase plate (see inset).
Fig. 2.
Fig. 2. The transmission intensity of the (a) TNLC cell in the LCPM and (b) NLC phase plate.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 3. Digitally step-tuned laser output spectrum for 20 ITU channels near the gain center.
Fig. 4.
Fig. 4. Frequency fine-tuning of the ECDL. (a) Frequency shift observed by a scanning Fabry-Perot Interferometer (b) Measured and predicted fine-tuning range. g1: measured frequency, g2: predicted frequency

Equations (2)

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Δ λ = Δ cos θ r Δ x f lens ,
Δ l l = Δ f f ,


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