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DFB Interband Cascade Lasers from 3 µm to 6 µm

Interband Cascade Lasers (ICLs)

nanoplus Nanosystems and Technologies

nanoplus offers a DFB interband cascade laser (ICL) at any target wavelength in the mid-infrared (MIR) between 3 μm and 6 μm.

The device operates in continuous wave (cw) mode around room temperature. Specifications and behavior are very comparable to a nanoplus laser at lower wavelengths. When you set up an ICL-based analyzer, you can, hence, transfer the engineering knowledge you have gained from building short-wavelength gas sensors.

The nanoplus DFB ICL opens tunable laser absorption spectroscopy (TLAS) for novel MIR applications in industrial gas sensing.

In the 3 μm to 6 μm wavelength window, now covered by interband cascade lasers, many industrially relevant trace gases have their strongest absorption bands. They show absorption strengths that are several orders of magnitude higher than those in other infrared (IR) areas. This concerns prevalent molecules such as carbon dioxide (CO2), nitric oxide (NO) or water (H2O). Most hydrocarbons, e. g. methane, equally locate their topmost absorbing features at these ICL wavelengths.

Using the strongest absorption band of the detected trace gas contributes to:

  • Accelerate the sensing speed
  • Reduce the noise and
  • Miniaturise the sensor

 

nanoplus ICLs are considered for various progressive applications in industry and research. In the oil and gas sector, they enable accurate process control and support higher energy efficiency and pollutant reduction.

Compared to other sensing techniques, such as gas chromatography, TLAS-based sensors offer the unmatched advantage of real-time analysis.

 

nanoplus DFB ICL technology outperforms other MIR laser technologies
Different laser technologies have been investigated in recent years to access the 3 μm to 6 μm wavelength range. Besides interband cascade lasers, GaSb-based type I interband diodes and intersubband quantum cascade lasers (QCL) have been a major focus of research.

While GaSb-based type I interband diodes have the disadvantage of decreasing hole confinement and increasing Auger recombination, fast phonon scattering loss impairs the use of intersubband QCLs.

An interband cascade laser, in contrast, uses optical transitions between an electron state in the conduction band and a hole state in the valence band in a cascade of Sb-based type-II QW structures. A broken-gap band edge alignment enables the tailoring of the emission wavelength by altering the cascade structures.

Interband-cascade technology is ideal for high-performance lasing in the entire range from 3 μm to 6 μm due to relatively wavelength-independent threshold powers. It combines high performance with reasonably low power consumption. Like all nanoplus lasers, these devices are manufactured without epitaxial overgrowth, avoiding impairment of ICL performance due to the insertion of patterning-induced defects within the laser layers.

 

Prism Award Winner 2012
nanoplus DFB interband cascade lasers (ICLs) won the “Prism Award for Green Photonics and Sustainable Energy” in 2012. They cover the entire wavelength range from 3000 nm to 6000 nm. Many prominent gas species have their strongest absorption features in this window. They are now accessible for tunable diode laser spectroscopy in industry and research.

Summary of typical specifications in the 2800 nm to 6500 nm range:

 

For wavelengths between 2800 nm and 4000 nm:
Parameters Symbol Unit Min Typ Max
operating wavelength (at Top, Iop) λop nm 0.1 nm
optical output power (at λop) Pop mW 10
operating current Iop mA 120
operating voltage Vop V 5
threshold current Ith mA 15 30 50
side mode suppression ratio SMSR dB > 35
current tuning coefficient CI nm / mA 0.10
temperature tuning coefficient CT nm / K 0.35
operating chip temperature Top °C +10 +20 +50
operating case temperature* TC °C -20 +25 +50
storage temperature* TS °C -30 +20 +70

* non-condensing

 

For wavelengths between 4000 nm and 4600 nm:
Parameters Symbol Unit Min Typ Max
operating wavelength (at Top, Iop) λop nm 0.1 nm
optical output power (at λop) Pop mW 5
operating current Iop mA 120
operating voltage Vop V 5
threshold current Ith mA 20 40 60
side mode suppression ratio SMSR dB > 35
current tuning coefficient CI nm / mA 0.12
temperature tuning coefficient CT nm / K 0.45
operating chip temperature Top °C +10 +20 +50
operating case temperature* TC °C -20 +25 +50
storage temperature* TS °C -30 +20 +70

* non-condensing

 

For wavelengths between 4600 nm and 5300 nm:
Parameters Symbol Unit Min Typ Max
operating wavelength (at Top, Iop) λop nm 0.1 nm
optical output power (at λop) Pop mW 3
operating current Iop mA 120
operating voltage Vop V 5
threshold current Ith mA 30 40 70
side mode suppression ratio SMSR dB > 35
current tuning coefficient CI nm / mA 0.14
temperature tuning coefficient CT nm / K 0.48
operating chip temperature Top °C +10 +20 +50
operating case temperature* TC °C -20 +25 +50
storage temperature* TS °C -30 +20 +70

* non-condensing

 

For wavelengths between 5300 nm and 5800 nm:
Parameters Symbol Unit Min Typ Max
operating wavelength (at Top, Iop) λop nm 0.1 nm
optical output power (at λop) Pop mW 1
operating current Iop mA 120
operating voltage Vop V 5
threshold current Ith mA 30 40 70
side mode suppression ratio SMSR dB > 35
current tuning coefficient CI nm / mA 0.15
temperature tuning coefficient CT nm / K 0.5
operating chip temperature Top °C 5 20 50
operating case temperature* TC °C -20 +25 +40
storage temperature* TS °C -30 +20 +70

* non-condensing

 

For wavelengths between 5800 nm and 6500 nm:
Parameters Symbol Unit Min Typ Max
wavelength precision δ nm 0.1
optical output power Pout mW 1
forward current If mA 120
threshold current lth mA 30 40 70
current tuning coefficient CI nm / mA 0.15
temperature tuning coefficient CT nm / K 0.50
typical maximum operating voltage Vop V 5
side mode suppression ratio SMSR dB > 35
storage temperature TS °C -40 +20 +80
operational temperature at case TC °C -20 +20 +45
chip operational temperature Top °C -10 +5 +15
ICL-Series-Datasheet
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Interband Cascade Lasers (ICLs)

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