Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Scott Diddams

Second Advisor

Juliet Gopinath

Third Advisor

Greg Rieker

Fourth Advisor

Daniel Adams

Fifth Advisor

Thomas Schibli

Abstract

Mid-infrared laser sources prove to be a valuable tool in exploring a vast array of phenomena, finding their way into applications ranging from trace gas detection to X-ray generation and carbon dating. Mid-infrared frequency combs, in particular, are well-suited for many of these applications, owing to their inherent low-noise and broadband nature. Frequency comb technology is well-developed in the near-infrared as a result of immense technological development by the telecommunication industry in silica fiber and the existence of readily-available glass dopants such as ytterbium and erbium that enable oscillators at 1 and 1.5 μm. However, options become substantially more limited at longer wavelengths, as silica is no longer transparent and the components required in a mid-infrared frequency comb system (oscillators, fibers, and both fiber and free-space components) are far less technologically mature.

This thesis explores several different approaches to generating frequency comb sources in the mid-infrared region, and the development of sources used in the nonlinear processes implemented to reach these wavelengths. An optical parametric oscillator, two approaches to difference frequency generation, and nonlinear spectral broadening in chip-scale waveguides are developed, characterized, and spectroscopic potential for these techniques is demonstrated. The source used for these nonlinear processes, the erbium-doped fiber amplifier, is also studied and discussed throughout the design and optimization process. The nonlinear optical processes critical to this work are numerically modeled and used to confirm and predict experimental behavior.

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Optics Commons

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