## Optimization of the switch-on and switch-off transition in a commercial laser

Applied Optics, Vol. 44, Issue 22, pp. 4761-4774 (2005)

http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/AO.44.004761

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### Abstract

The response of a Class B laser to a rapid change in one of its parameters is known to be accompanied by delay and ringing. It has been theoretically and numerically shown that the transition can be modified by using adequate functional shapes for the control parameter (e.g., the laser pump) in order to steer the laser from one point of operation to another. Here we experimentally show the implementation of these ideas in a commercial device: a semiconductor laser. We establish a procedure for optimizing a controlled switch-on and switch-off and obtain a clean, fast, and reliable square pulse, either in a single shot or in a repetitive sequence. The generality of this procedure promises a wide field of application for a variety of laser systems.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

**OCIS Codes**

(140.0140) Lasers and laser optics : Lasers and laser optics

(140.2020) Lasers and laser optics : Diode lasers

(140.3460) Lasers and laser optics : Lasers

(140.5560) Lasers and laser optics : Pumping

**Citation**

X. Hachair, S. Barland, J. R. Tredicce, and G. L. Lippi, "Optimization of the switch-on and switch-off transition in a commercial laser," Appl. Opt. **44**, 4761-4774 (2005)

http://www.opticsinfobase.org/ao/abstract.cfm?URI=ao-44-22-4761

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- The step that we describe in detail in Section is necessary for laser systems, i.e., devices that package together both the laser and some controls (e.g., electronic, optical, or others). If one desires to optimize a Class B laser with no additional elements, the general considerations of Refs. , , and apply directly. The procedure that we propose in this paper can still be applied and is likely to provide faster results, but the tests described in detail in Section become unnecessary.
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- On the basis of general principles one prefers the opposite approach, fixing V1 and V2 and varying t1 and t2. If the instrumentation allows it, this is certainly preferred. However, we see that even the opposite one, imposed by our generator, produces successful results.
- In general, it is not meaningful to attempt a number of levels much larger than 100, no matter what system is taken into consideration. Maximum estimates of the number of trials can therefore be based on this worst-case assumption if other information is missing.
- If the generator/s time resolution is small compared with the time interval to be explored, we come back to the considerations already made and consider that 100 trials are more than enough for a scan of the parameter space. In such a case, if no other restrictions are applied, the amount of data to be analyzed may rapidly become too large to be practicable. A way of reducing the portion of parameter space to analyze is presented in Subsection .
- The time estimate for one loop can be obtained on the basis of the following considerations. For 1 kbyte the typical access time for a hard disk is nowadays approximately 15 µs, while a standard GIPB interface is currently capable of transferring the same amount of data in approximately 150 µs. Choosing a large safety factor in the duty cycle, to make sure that the measurement is not affected by external factors influencing the laser (e.g., heating, memory effects), we can set the signal frequency to approximately 10 kHz; thus the waiting time to synchronize the cycles is at most 100 µs. In addition we have to take into account the time Labview takes to update the parameters and send them to the generator, and to activate it, and for the oscilloscope to trigger and store the data in memory. Given the speed of computer clocks, even if the program is not written in an efficient way, the bottleneck of the operation is the arbitrary waveform generator/s reaction time in responding and sending out the signal. In our measurements this time was particularly long (3 s) because of the very old technology of the apparatus. With sufficient error margin we can generically assume modern generators to be ∼50 times faster; therefore we arrive at an estimated cycle time of approximately 0.06 s.
- Although we have not used this option in our measurements, most modern oscilloscopes offer a window discrimination or smart trigger on the data acquired. This option can be used for prefiltering the data. Alternatively this filtering can be done on the computer, once the data are transferred from a lower-class oscilloscope or from an older model, before the information is stored on the hard disk.
- This statement is valid with the assumption that the range of values over which the steering parameter (voltage in our system) can be varied above and below threshold covers a comparable range. In our device the laser response above threshold grows considerably more for 1.8 V < or = V < or similar to 3.5 V than for 3.5 V < or similar V < or = 5 V. Thus we can consider that the range of below-threshold voltages DeltaVbt approximately 1.8 V is of the same order as the main contribution in the above-threshold interval DeltaVat approximately 1.7 V. This response can be tested a priori in each system, and a weighted version of our statement can be used as an educated guess for determining a reasonable interval of ratios between t1 and t2 to be tested.
- In all cases in which the time resolution of the arbitrary function generator is sufficiently fine, one would effectively invert the roles of the scans on the time values, t1 and t2, and voltage values, V1 and V2. In this latter case the number of voltage values to be chosen could also be rather small, since one would immediately start by considering in a preliminary run only those that are sufficiently close to Vmax for V1 and to Vmin for V2.
- This situation is represented graphically by the trajectory labeled A in Fig. in Ref. when the target point in the phase space is approached from below.
- This corresponds to the part of the composite trajectory that approaches the saddle point in phase space, starting from the initial operating point (with the laser switched off). It is in the neighborhood of this point that the laser field grows rapidly out of the intrinsic noise (not shown in the figures in Ref. ).
- In the phase-space picture this phase corresponds to aiming at the fixed point, thereby removing the oscillations.

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