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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Tunable, Narrow Line Width Mid-Infrared Laser Source, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Tunable, Narrow Line Width Mid-Infrared Laser Source, Phase I
Maxion Technologies, Inc. (Maxion) and Professor Mario Dagenais and his group at the University of Maryland (UMD) jointly propose to develop a compact, efficient, single mode, narrow linewidth tunable laser source in the 3.2-to-3.6 micron wavelength region. This effort, if successful, will assist NASA in its trace gas detection objectives by supplying NASA with the most critical (and difficult to obtain) laser source required. During the Phase 1 portion of this effort, Maxion and UMD propose to: a) develop/demonstrate a low-loss IC laser design, b) develop ultra-low modal reflectivity anti-reflection (AR) output facets on interband cascade laser (ICL) gain chips, and c) validate the AR coating quality by demonstrating continuous tuning of an ECL using the high temperature, state-of-the-art AR-coated gain chip developed during this program. The low-loss ICL design is important to improve the maximum cw operating temperature of IC lasers, currently limited to near-room-temperature values. The ultra-low reflectivity coating will permit the maximum possible wavelength tuning range to be achieved. This is important as it will realize tunability throughout the widest possible range (the goal being 3.2-to-3.6 microns) using a single semiconductor laser chip. The new low-loss IC design and the ultra-low reflectivity output facet represent, together, the two central roadblocks Maxion sees to achieving a compact, tunable laser source in the mid-infrared wavelength region. Consequently, the Phase I effort will represent a feasibility study to see if our approaches to overcoming these two roadblocks can be successful. More »

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