Series in Quantum Electronics
edited by
Henry Baltes, Peter Günter, Ursula Keller,
Fritz K. Kneubühl †, Walter Lukosz,
Hans Melchior, Markus W. Sigrist

Vol. 41

Adrian Schlatter
Noise Properties of High Repetition-
Rate Mode-Locked Lasers
1st edition 2007. XVIII, 128 pages; € 64,00. ISBN 3-86628-144-7


Pulsed laser sources with repetition rates of several gigahertz play an important role in many applications today. The largest market share is held by telecommunication through optical fibers. Other applications include test and measurement, spectroscopy, and optically sampled analog-to-digital conversion. All these areas rely on stably operating lasers with low pulse-timing jitter, low intensity noise, and / or low optical phase noise.

The first part of this thesis investigates the dynamics of passively mode-locked lasers with a novel type of measurement. A detailed understanding of laser dynamics is critical to avoid instabilities often observed with passively mode-locked lasers. In cases where the laser dynamics do not agree with the established theoretical models, the measurements lead to an explanation.

The thesis then discusses the noise properties of mode-locked lasers and proposes novel techniques for the measurement of relative timing jitter and optical phase noise. With two passively mode-locked 10-GHz Er:Yb:glass lasers in a free-running and a timing-stabilized configuration we achieve jitter which is close to the limit given by quantum noise sources inside the laser cavities in a wide range of noise frequencies. For optical phase noise measurements, a technique is proposed that is especially suited for mode-locked lasers, which have an optical spectrum consisting of many modes. While previous techniques had to measure the phase noise of these modes one by one, the proposed method does this simultaneously. This allows to derive fluctuations of all other pulse parameters as well. We demonstrate this for 5-GHz passively mode-locked Nd:YVO4 lasers operating at 1.3 μm.


About the author:


Adrian Schlatter received his diploma degree in physics from the ETH Zurich in 2002. He joined the Institute of Quantum Electronics at ETH Zurich in the same year. His research focused on passively mode-locked solid-state lasers operating at multi-gigahertz repetition rates, dynamic behavior and stability, timing jitter, intensity noise and optical phase noise.


Keywords: Mode-locked Lasers, Solid-State Lasers, Er:Yb:glass Lasers, Nd:YVO4 Lasers, Semiconductor Saturable Absorber Mirror (SESAM), Q-switched Mode Locking (QML), Fluctuations, Relaxations, and Noise, Timing Jitter, Intensity Noise, Optical Phase Noise, Quantum Noise

Series in Quantum Electronics

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