Abstract

A diode-pumped broadband multiple-quantum-well vertical-external-cavity surface-emitting semiconductor laser has been developed for high-sensitivity intracavity laser-absorption spectroscopy. The semiconductor structure design has been optimized so as to provide maximum laser-emission bandwidth and wavelength tunability. The laser has a 100-mW threshold of continuous room-temperature operation, and it can be tuned within 25 nm around its design wavelength (980 nm). A detection limit lower than 10-10 per centimeter of absorption path has been achieved, given 3×10-11cm-1 Hz-1/2. Its spectro-temporal dynamics has been studied in the time range from a few microseconds to ∼1 s. No evidence of nonlinear mode interactions, which in many cases limit the sensitivity, has been observed. We have also shown that with a cavity length reduced to 2.5 cm, the laser is very attractive as a tunable single-frequency source owing to its stable operation in a single TEM00 mode at a pump power of up to 1 W.

© 2000 Optical Society of America

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