Fast wavelength tuning technique for external cavity lasers
This invention is a novel external cavity – quantum cascade laser (EC-QCL) architecture. The current state of the art uses mechanical translation and rotation stages to synchronously control EC length and diffraction grating angle, which are the two factors that determine tuning speed. This invention employs a compact piezo-actuated tilt platform for mirror steering so that EC length and diffraction grating angle are controlled individually and simultaneously.
Advantages This new architecture stands to increase tuning speeds of EC lasers from 100 Hz to as high as 10,000 Hz. For ultra-sensitive concentration measurements of small molecules at reduced pressures, such a broadly tunable fast EC-QCL is an excellent alternative spectroscopic source to a single frequency QCL, usually used in this type of application. In addition, a widely tunable laser source will allow agile detection of multiple gases with a single source and will allow the measurement of wide absorption spectra of complex molecules, which is not possible with single frequency laser sources.
• High resolution spectrometers
• Tunable frequency standard in heterodyne applications
• Tunable light source for free-space optical data transmission
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