Distributed feedback lasers and integrated laser arrays for wavelength-division multiplexing systems
Distributed Feedback (DFB) lasers and integrated laser arrays are of great importance in Wavelength-Division Multiplexing (WDM) systems in fiber optic communication systems. High-performance, low-cost DFB lasers and laser arrays are highly desirable for applications in intra-datacenter transport and in local access networks. This dissertation is focused on the design, fabrication and achievement of high-performance, low-cost DFB Lasers and Integrated DFB Arrays for WDM Systems. It investigates the use of a novel sampled grating approach, called the equivalent phase shift method, to achieve integrated DFB laser arrays with single-mode lasing at uniformly-spaced and precisely-positioned wavelengths. First, laterally-Coupled DFB (LC-DFB) lasers with first-order sidewall gratings are realized, with gratings fabricated by optical interference lithography instead of e-beam. Then, LC-DFB lasers and LC-DFB laser arrays with sampled gratings and equivalent phase shifts are proposed, numerically analyzed and experimentally demonstrated. Each LC-DFB laser with an equivalent quarter-wave phase shift is shown to lase at the pre-specified wavelength in a single longitudinal mode, with good side-mode suppression ratio (SMSR) over a very wide range of injection currents. Integrated LC-DFB laser arrays with five uniformly-spaced wavelength channels are demonstrated, in close agreement with the design. For better performance, buried heterostructure (BH)-DFB laser and laser arrays are also demonstrated using the same sampled-grating technology. A 6-wavelenth laser array with a 300 μm cavity length and a 8-wavelength laser array with 250 μm cavity length are successively demonstrated, each showing precisely positioned lasing wavelengths, good SMSR, and uniformly good lasing characteristics under a wide range of operating currents and temperatures. Finally, it is demonstrated that the wavelength of a monolithic WDM laser array can be continuously tuned over a very wide wavelength range of nearly 40 nm. The proposed method offers a practical and cost-effective solution for the manufacture of high-performance, monolithic multi-wavelength DFB laser arrays as well as widely wavelength-tunable DFB lasers for integrated WDM systems.