Multiple-quantum-well (MQW) structures of GaAs and GaAlAs have been used for passive mode locking of commercial GaAs semiconductor diode lasers. We present an extended discussion of this application of the sensitive room-temperature excitonic absorption saturation in MQW material. We review the criteria for passive mode locking and discuss two methods—carrier diffusion and proton bombardment—for reducing the aborption recovery time without destroying the excitonic nonlinearity. A simple probabilistic theory is derived for the effect of bombardment on the excitonic effects that is in order-of-magnitude agreement with experiment. We have performed experiments using MQW material to mode lock a GaAs laser. A continuous train of pulses as narrow as 1.6 psec has been obtained with a pulse-repetition rate of 2 GHz.
© 1985 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: February 1, 1985
Manuscript Accepted: March 12, 1985
Published: July 1, 1985
P. W. Smith, D. A. B. Miller, and Y. Silberberg, "Mode locking of semiconductor diode lasers using saturable excitonic nonlinearities," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 2, 1228-1236 (1985)