Abstract

We demonstrate a new type of optical saturable absorber based on the self-assembled topological insulator Bi$_{2}$Se$_{3}$ membrane fabricated by the drop-cast/evaporation approach. The strong viscosity of Bi$_{2}$Se$_{3}$ allows its attachment onto the optical fiber end-facet for practical optoelectronic applications. The balanced twin-detector technique was used to characterize the saturable absorption parameters of the device, which has a saturating intensity of 101.8 MW/cm$^{2}$ and a modulation depth of 41.2% at the telecommunication band. By deploying this device into a fiber laser cavity, we had achieved stable Q-switched pulses with a repetition rate of 8 kHz and pulse duration of 14 $\mu$s. Through fine tuning the laser pump strength and/or cavity birefringence, we could widely change the Q-switched pulse repetition rate from 4.508 kHz to 12.88 kHz, pulse duration from 13.4 $\mu$s to 36 $\mu$s, and lasing wavelength from 1545.0 nm to 1565.1 nm. A dual-wavelength passive Q-switching operation was also obtained by enhancing the intra-cavity birefringence. Our results show the effectiveness of developing Bi$_{2}$Se$_{3}$ optical saturable absorber device by the drop-cast/evaporation method and applications for pulsed laser operation.

© 2013 IEEE

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