Novel Cavities and Functionality in High-Power High-Brightness Semiconductor Vertical External Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractEver since the first laser demonstration in 1960, applications for laser systems have increased to include diverse fields such as: national defense, biology and medicine, entertainment, imaging, and communications. In order to serve the growing demand, a wide range of laser types including solid-state, semiconductor, gas, and dye lasers have been developed. For most applications it is critical to have lasers with both high optical power and excellent beam quality. This has traditionally been difficult to simultaneously achieve in semiconductor lasers. In the mid 1990's, the advent of an optically pumped semiconductor vertical-external-cavity surface-emitting laser (VECSEL) led to the demonstration of high (multi-watt) output power with near diffraction limited (TEM00) beam quality. Since that time VECSELs covering large wavelength regions have been developed. It is the objective of this dissertation to investigate and explore novel cavity designs which can lead to increased functionality in high power, high brightness VECSELs. Optically pumped VECSELs have previously demonstrated their potential for high power, high brightness operation. In addition, the "open" cavity design of this type of laser makes intracavity nonlinear frequency conversion, linewidth narrowing, and spectral tuning very efficient. By altering the external cavity design it is possible to add additional functionality to this already flexible design. In this dissertation, the history, theory, design, and fabrication are first presented as VECSEL performance relies heavily on the design and fabrication of the chip. Basic cavities such as the linear cavity and v-shaped cavity will be discussed, including the role they play in wavelength tuning, transverse mode profile, and mode stability. The development of a VECSEL for use as a sodium guide star laser is presented including the theory and simulation of intracavity frequency generation in a modified v-cavity. The results show agreement with theory and the measurement of the sodium D1 and D2 lines are demonstrated. A discussion of gain coupled VECSELs in which a single pump area accommodates two laser cavities is demonstrated and a description of mode competition and the importance of spontaneous emission in determining the lasing condition is discussed. Finally the T-cavity configuration is presented. This configuration allows for the spatial overlap of two VECSEL cavities operating with orthogonal polarizations. Independent tuning of each cavity is presented as well as the quality of the beam overlap and demonstration of Type II intracavity sum frequency generation. Future applications to this configuration are discussed in the generation of high power, high brightness lasers operating from the UV to far-infrared and even terahertz regimes.
Degree ProgramGraduate College