Broadband waveguided light sources

Markus Pollnau

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    In recent years, broadband fiber interferometers have become very popular as basic instruments used in optical low-coherence reflectometry for diagnostics of fiber and integrated optics devices or in optical coherence tomography (OCT) for imaging applications in the biomedical field. The longitudinal resolution of such instruments is inversely proportional to the optical bandwidth of the light source. Broadband luminescence from transition-metal-ion or rare-earth-ion doped materials can significantly improve the longitudinal resolution compared to superluminescent diodes, but the low brightness of its luminescence typically leads to a low dynamic range in OCT. Femtosecond lasers based on, e.g., Ti:sapphire have, therefore, been used as large-bandwidth high-brightness light sources, and subcellular imaging has been demonstrated in this way. Since current femtosecond light sources do not necessarily meet the requirements of compactness, ease of use, and low cost, a suitable light source for OCT is still not available. We have demonstrated the suitability of a superluminescent Ti:sapphire crystal as a light source in the wavelength region 700-1000 nm for OCT. Single spatial mode, fiber coupled output powers of ~40 µW can be generated using a 5 W pump, and OCT with ~2 µm axial resolution has been performed [1]. Guiding of the fluorescence in planar-waveguide geometry can further increase the single-mode fluorescence output powers [2]. Ultimately, in a channel-waveguide geometry, the coupling efficiency of fluorescence emission into a single-mode fiber is expected to further increase to the mW level. The significantly improved sensitivity that will result at this fluorescence power may allow for rapid in vivo ultrahigh-resolution OCT with a simple broadband light source. We have successfully created Ti:sapphire channel waveguides by rib fabrication in pulsed-laser-deposition grown Ti:sapphire planar waveguides by reactive ion etching [3] or Ar+ beam milling [4] through polyimide contact masks. We are also currently investigating ion beam implantation as a tool for producing sapphire and Ti:sapphire planar waveguides directly from bulk material [5]. Comparison of the output characteristics between transition-metal-ion and rare-earth-ion doped waveguide structures and its consequences for interferometry will be given at the conference. [1] A.M. Kowalevicz, T. Ko, I. Hartl, J.G. Fujimoto, M. Pollnau, R.P. Salathé, Opt. Express 10, 349 (2002). [2] M. Pollnau, R.P. Salathé, T. Bhutta, D.P. Shepherd, R.W. Eason, Opt. Lett. 26, 283 (2001). [3] A. Crunteanu, M. Pollnau, G. Jänchen, C. Hibert, P. Hoffmann, R.P. Salathé, R.W. Eason, C. Grivas, D.P. Shepherd, Appl. Phys. B 75, 15 (2002). [4] C. Grivas, D.P. Shepherd, T.C. May-Smith, R.W. Eason, M. Pollnau, A. Crunteanu, M. Jelinek, IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 39, 501 (2003). [5] L. Laversenne, A. Crunteanu, P. Hoffmann, M. Pollnau, P. Moretti, J. Mugnier, in Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics Europe, Munich, Germany, 2003, paper CG3-2-WED, accepted.
    Original languageUndefined
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2003
    Event4th International Spring Workshop on Spectroscopy, Structure & Synthesis of Rare Earth Systems - Ladek Zdroj, Poland
    Duration: 21 Jun 200326 Jun 2003


    Workshop4th International Spring Workshop on Spectroscopy, Structure & Synthesis of Rare Earth Systems
    Other21-26 June 2003


    • IOMS-APD: Active Photonic Devices
    • IR-72142
    • EWI-17996

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