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Active Stabilization of Terahertz Semiconductor Dual-Comb Laser Sources Employing a Phase Locking Technique

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posted on 2023-11-30, 20:52 authored by Yiran Zhao, Ziping Li, Kang Zhou, Xiaoyu Liao, Wen Guan, Wenjian Wan, Sijia Yang, J. C. Cao, Dong Xu, Stefano Barbieri, Hua Li
Dual-comb sources with equally spaced and low phase noise frequency lines are of great importance for high resolution spectroscopy and metrology. In the terahertz frequency range, electrically pumped semiconductor quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) are suitable candidates for frequency comb and dual-comb operation. For a single laser frequency comb, the repetition rate can be locked using a microwave injection locking and the carrier frequency can be locked to a highly stable source. However, for the locking of two laser combs, four frequencies (two repetition rates and two carrier offset frequencies) should be simultaneously locked; If one only refers to the dual-comb signal, two relative frequencies, i.e., the offset frequency and repetition frequency of one laser against those of the other laser, should be locked. Although the locking techniques that have been successfully used for a single laser comb can be, in principle, applied to a dual-comb laser source, the complete locking considerably complicates the implementation of such a system. Here, we propose a method to stabilize a terahertz QCL dual-comb source by phase locking one of the dual-comb lines to a radio frequency (RF) synthesizer. This technique forces one of the lasers to follow the tone of the other one (keeping the sum of the carrier offset frequency difference and repetition frequency difference between the two laser combs as a constant) by exploiting a laser self-detection that avoids the use of an external detector. Through the demonstration of this locking technique, we demonstrate that the dual-comb can generate periodic pulses over a 2 us time scale, showing that the terahertz QCL comb without a control of the repetition rate can produce pulsed-type waveforms.

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