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Quantum noise reduction in semiconductor lasers using dispersive optical feedback


Kitching, John E. (1995) Quantum noise reduction in semiconductor lasers using dispersive optical feedback. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/ANGH-BY42.


This thesis describes the phase and amplitude noise properties of semiconductor lasers subjected to weak, dispersive optical feedback. In the first half, experiments demonstrating reductions in the laser frequency noise power spectrum and spectral linewidth by several orders of magnitude are presented. Weak optical feedback is applied to the laser by an external cavity containing an atomic vapor. The presence of the vapor adds to the dispersion of the cavity and simultaneously locks the laser to a fixed frequency reference. The role of 1/f frequency noise in limiting the effectiveness of this linewidth reduction technique is investigated and 1/f noise is found to be the dominant contribution to the linewidth under strong optical feedback conditions. An electronic feedback scheme utilizing FM sideband locking is then implemented alongside the optical feedback, and an additional reduction in the low frequency 1/f frequency noise power spectrum by over two orders of magnitude is obtained. With both systems operating simultaneously, the spectral linewidth is narrowed from its free-running value of about 20 MHz to 1.4 kHz. Excellent absolute frequency stability is also achieved. In the second half, the effects of optical feedback on the quantum mechanical amplitude noise properties of the laser are examined. A fully quantum mechanical theory of amplitude and phase noise for a semiconductor laser with weak optical feedback is developed, and the nature and limits of the noise reduction using this technique are established. Particular attention is given to the feedback-induced enhancement of the amplitude squeezing which can be obtained in a pump-suppressed semiconductor laser: an improvement in the squeezing by 3 dB is predicted under moderate pumping. Somewhat larger noise reductions are expected when the laser is operating closer to threshold. Measurements performed on a laser biased close to threshold are then described and a reduction in the low frequency amplitude noise power spectrum by 7 dB is obtained. An experimental investigation of the effects of optical feedback on the amplitude squeezing in a semiconductor laser is then discussed. The low frequency squeezing in a room temperature device is increased from 3% below the standard quantum limit (SQL) under free-running conditions to 19% below the SQL with optimal feedback. The experimental results are found to agree poorly with the single-mode model and a multi-mode model including the effects of asymmetrical cross-mode non-linear gain is developed to explain the discrepancy. Finally, further experimental investigation into the generation of amplitude squeezed light is presented using a commercial laser with no intentional external modifications. Squeezing as large as 29% below the SQL is measured using a balanced homodyne detector with the laser operating near room temperature, corresponding to 41% below the SQL at the output facet of the laser.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Applied Physics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Yariv, Amnon
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:16 May 1995
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-10162007-131138
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:4115
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:26 Oct 2007
Last Modified:21 Dec 2019 01:52

Thesis Files

PDF (Kitching_je_1995.pdf) - Final Version
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