Broadband Electrically Tunable Monolithic Mid-Infrared Laser

Project: Research project

Project Details


Mid-Infrared spectroscopy is an invaluable tool for chemical detection and identification. While single frequency lasers have been used previously for single chemical detection in NASA missions, a broadly tunable laser offers the possibility to detect a large number of chemicals with a single source. This is invaluable for providing maximum functionality in a limited footprint. Current broadly tunable mid-infrared laser systems utilize one of more laser gain chips and mechanical external cavity tuning in order to span a wide spectral range. This technique is sensitive to mechanical shock and has a limited tuning speed. We propose to design and build a single chip solution which will be comprised of three main innovations. The first innovation is a high efficiency, broadband gain medium based on quantum cascade laser technology. The second innovation is a multi-section, Vernier-type tunable resonator capable of single mode emission. The third innovation is a custom monolithic beam combiner/ amplifier with a single, high quality output beam and that can fully utilize the broadband laser gain spectrum. This solution promises to be compact, robust, and capable of broadband tuning on s-level time scales. This is a potentially transformative technology that will dramatically improve both SWaP and reliability for future NASA missions.
Effective start/end date10/1/133/31/16


  • NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NNX13AT10G)


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