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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 17, Iss. 3 — Feb. 2, 2009
  • pp: 1159–1168

Phase locking of a 1.5 Terahertz quantum cascade laser and use as a local oscillator in a heterodyne HEB receiver

D. Rabanus, U. U. Graf, M. Philipp, O. Ricken, J. Stutzki, B. Vowinkel, M. C. Wiedner, C. Walther, M. Fischer, and J. Faist  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 17, Issue 3, pp. 1159-1168 (2009)

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We demonstrate for the first time the closure of an electronic phase lock loop for a continuous–wave quantum cascade laser (QCL) at 1.5 THz. The QCL is operated in a closed cycle cryo cooler. We achieved a frequency stability of better than 100 Hz, limited by the resolution bandwidth of the spectrum analyser. The PLL electronics make use of the intermediate frequency (IF) obtained from a hot electron bolometer (HEB) which is downconverted to a PLL IF of 125 MHz. The coarse selection of the longitudinal mode and the fine tuning is achieved via the bias voltage of the QCL. Within a QCL cavity mode, the free-running QCL shows frequency fluctuations of about 5 MHz, which the PLL circuit is able to control via the Stark–shift of the QCL gain material. Temperature dependent tuning is shown to be nonlinear, and of the order of -16 MHz/K. Additionally we have used the QCL as local oscillator (LO) to pump an HEB and perform, again for the first time at 1.5 THz, a heterodyne experiment, and obtain a receiver noise temperature of 1741K.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(300.6310) Spectroscopy : Spectroscopy, heterodyne
(350.1270) Other areas of optics : Astronomy and astrophysics
(040.2235) Detectors : Far infrared or terahertz
(300.6495) Spectroscopy : Spectroscopy, teraherz
(250.5590) Optoelectronics : Quantum-well, -wire and -dot devices

ToC Category:
Lasers and Laser Optics

Original Manuscript: July 28, 2008
Revised Manuscript: December 29, 2008
Manuscript Accepted: January 12, 2009
Published: January 16, 2009

D. Rabanus, U. U. Graf, M. Philipp, O. Ricken, J. Stutzki, B. Vowinkel, M. C. Wiedner, C. Walther, M. Fischer, and J. Faist, "Phase locking of a 1.5 Terahertz quantum cascade laser and use as a local oscillator in a heterodyne HEB receiver," Opt. Express 17, 1159-1168 (2009)

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