Ultrafast Photonics

Picosecond and femtosecond optical pulses are widely used in research laboratories, in areas varying from fundamental physics, telecommunications, materials science to biology and medicine. Many of these applications require smaller, turn-key laser systems that can operate in even the most hostile environments. Optical integration provides such miniaturisation. Current projects are developing laser light sources for application in metrology and non-linear microscopy with additional applications in all-optical clock recovery for high speed optical communication and photonic sampling.


The short pulses are generated by mode-locked lasers (MLL): lasers in which the different longitudinal laser modes are locked in phase. This gives rise to the formation of short pulses at a repetition rate that is equal to the roundtrip time. The output spectrum of MLLs shows an equally spaced series of laser modes, the frequency comb. The goal is to develop devices that can have a minimised timing jitter and stabilised wavelengths of the laser mode frequencies through electronic and opto-electronic feedback techniques. To achieve the shortest pulses, integrated compression and spectral manipulation techniques are studied. In a pulse shaper, the spectral components in the laser output are separated and the phase and amplitude of each component is controlled using electro-optic phase modulators and amplifiers. All of this has been integrated onto a single optical chip to demonstrate the world's first InP based pulse shaper. The capabilities of the device were demonstrated in combination with a mode-locked quantum dash laser in collaboration with Dublin City University. In the framework of the Paradigm project, device libraries have been defined for short pulse generation and manipulation components.

Selected publications:
Luo, J., Calabretta, N., Parra-Cetina, J., Latkowski, S., Maldonado-Basilio, R., Landais, P. & Dorren, H.J.S. (2013). 320  Gb/s all-optical clock recovery and time de-multiplexing after transmission enabled by single quantum dash mode-locked laser. Optics Letters, 38(22), 4805-4808.
Tahvili, M.S., Latkowski, S., Smalbrugge, E., Leijtens, X.J.M., Williams, P.J., Wale, M.J., Parra-Cetina, J., Maldonado-Basilio, R., Landais, P., Smit, M.K. & Bente, E.A.J.M. (2013). InP-based integrated optical pulse shape : demonstration of chirp compensation. IEEE Photonics Technology Letters, 25(5), 450-453.
Parra-Cetina, J., Luo, J., Calabretta, N., Latkowski, S., Dorren, H.J.S. & Landais, P. (2013). Subharmonic all-optical clock recovery of up to 320 Gb/s signal using a quantum dash Fabry–Pérot mode-locked laser. Journal of Lightwave Technology, 31(19), 3127-3134.
Tahvili, M.S., Du, L., Heck, M.J.R., Nötzel, R., Smit, M.K. & Bente, E.A.J.M. (2012). Dual-wavelength passive and hybrid mode-locking of 3, 4.5 and 10 GHz InAs/InP(100) quantum dot lasers. Optics Express, 20(7), 8117-8135.
Stopinski, S.T., Malinowski, M., Piramidowicz, R., Kleijn, E., Smit, M.K. & Leijtens, X.J.M. (2013). Integrated optical delay lines for time-division multiplexers. IEEE Photonics Journal, 5(5), 7902109-1/9.
Carpintero, G., Rouvalis, E., Lawniczuk, K., Fice, M., Renaud, C.C., Leijtens, X.J.M., Bente, E.A.J.M., Chitoui, M., Dijk, F. van & Seeds, A.J. (2012). 95 GHz millimeter wave signal generation using an arrayed waveguide grating dual wavelength semiconductor laser. Optics Letters, 37(17), 3657-3659.
Pinkert, T.J., Salumbides, E.J., Tahvili, M.S., Ubachs, W., Bente, E.A.J.M. & Eikema, K.S.E. (2012). Frequency comb generation by CW laser injection into a quantum-dot mode-locked laser. Optics Express, 20(19), 21357-21371.
Tahvili, M.S., Barbarin, Y., Leijtens, X.J.M., Vries, T. de, Smalbrugge, E., Bolk, J., Ambrosius, H.P.M.M., Smit, M.K. & Bente, E.A.J.M. (2011).Directional control of optical power in integrated InP/InGaAsP extended cavity mode-locked ring lasers. Optics Letters, 36(13), 2462-2464.
Breuer, S., Elsässer, W., McInerney, J.G., Yvind, K., Pozo, J., Bente, E.A.J.M., Yousefi, M., Villafranca, A., Vogiatzis, N. & Rorison, J.M. (2010).Investigations of repetition rate stability of a mode-locked quantum dot semiconductor laser in an auxiliary optical fiber cavity. IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics, 46(2), 150-157.