Giant optical gain in a rare-earth-ion-doped microstructure

Jan 12, 2012

Prof. Markus Pollnau and co-workers at the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology at the University of Twente (The Netherlands) have developed a rare-earth-ion-doped optical amplifier with performance comparable to semiconductor amplifiers.

Amplification of is critical in photonics applications. Semiconductor optical waveguide amplifiers have high gain per unit length (~1000 dB/cm), but suffer from spatial and temporal gain pattering effects.

In comparison, fiber amplifiers doped with trivalent rare-earth ions like Er3+ combine good overall gain with and negligible non-linearities. However, this comes at the cost of having to use several meters of fiber length, making them unsuitable for on-chip applications.

By engineering the host material, dopant concentration, and geometry the MESA+ scientists were able to increase the modal gain per unit length of rare-earth-ion-doped waveguide amplifiers to ~1000 dB/cm.

As good as semiconductor amplifiers

“Our highest measured gain of 935 dB/cm is two orders of magnitude higher than previously demonstrated in any rare-earth-ion-doped amplifier and similar to the best results reported for semiconductor amplifiers,” says Dimitri Geskus, lead author on the paper.

The approach uses the family of monoclinic potassium double tungstates KY(WO4)2, KGd(WO4)2, and KLu(WO4)2. Yb3+ ions doped into these materials possess some of the highest transition cross-sections observed in dielectric materials.

Besides their applicability as on-chip amplifiers for high-bit-rate data transmission at signal wavelengths around 1 μm, these new rare-earth-ion-doped amplifiers may be used to provide optical gain in nanophotonic devices, such as nanoamplifiers and nanolasers, and may enable lossless propagation in plasmonic nanostructures.

The research is reported in the first issue of Advanced Optical Materials, a new section in Advanced Materials (2010 IF: 10.880) dedicated to exploring light-matter interactions.

Explore further: Developing the battery of the future

More information: The article is available at doi.wiley.com/10.1002/adma.201101781

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Heavy metal glass helps light go the distance

Jun 16, 2010

The fiber optic cable networks linking the world are an essential part of modern life. To keep up with ever-increasing demands for more bandwidth, scientists are working to improve the optical amplifiers that boost fiber ...

Novel optical amplifier without the noise

Jul 08, 2011

Researchers in Sweden have succeeded in delivering an optical amplifier capable of amplifying light with extremely low noise. The study is published in the journal Nature Photonics.

Scientists succeed in cooling solid material with laser

Jul 26, 2006

A team of researchers at the University of the Basque Country have experimentally demonstrated something that other scientists have been trying to achieve for decades: the cooling of erbium-doped materials with laser light.

Recommended for you

'Swiss cheese' membrane with adjustable holes

6 hours ago

A new membrane, developed by University of Twente scientists, can be made more or less porous 'on demand'. In this way, smart switching between 'open' and 'closed' is possible, which opens the way to innovative ...

Stretching oxides to modulate electrochemical properties

8 hours ago

Solid oxide fuel cells and solid oxide electrolysis cells hold the promise of highly efficient energy conversion, with lower pollution, to meet increasing global energy demands. But these devices need good ...

Developing the battery of the future

21 hours ago

The search for the next generation of batteries has led researchers at the Canadian Light Source synchrotron to try new methods and materials that could lead to the development of safer, cheaper, more powerful, ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

materialsdave
not rated yet Jan 12, 2012
For more information on Advanced Optical Materials, visit http://eepurl.com/hVeVg .

Dave Flanagan
Advanced Materials

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.