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Frequency-comb-linearized, widely tunable lasers for coherent ranging

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posted on 2023-09-01, 16:00 authored by Baoqi Shi, Yi-Han Luo, Wei Sun, Yue Hu, Jinbao Long, Xue Bai, Anting Wang, Junqiu Liu
Tunable lasers, with the ability to continuously adjust their emission wavelengths, have found widespread applications across various fields such as biomedical imaging, coherent ranging, optical communications and spectroscopy. In these applications, a wide chirp range is advantageous for large spectral coverage and high frequency resolution. Besides, the frequency accuracy and precision also depend critically on the chirp linearity of the laser. While extensive efforts have been made on the development of many kinds of frequency-agile, widely tunable, narrow-linewidth lasers, wideband yet precise methods to characterize and to linearize laser chirp dynamics are also demanded. Here we present an approach to characterize laser chirp dynamics using an optical frequency comb. The instantaneous laser frequency is tracked over terahertz bandwidth with 1 MHz interval. Using this approach we calibrate the chirp performance of twelve tunable lasers from Toptica, Santec, New Focus, EXFO and NKT that are commonly used in fiber optics and integrated photonics. In addition, with acquired knowledge on laser chirp dynamics, we demonstrate a simple frequency-linearization scheme that enables coherent ranging without any optical or electronic linearization units. Our approach not only presents a novel wideband, high-resolution laser spectroscopy, but is also critical for sensing applications with ever-increasing requirements on performance.

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