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Proceedings Paper

Study of excitability in semiconductor ring lasers: theory and experiment
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Paper Abstract

Semiconductor Ring Lasers (SRLs) are a novel class of semiconductor lasers whose active cavity is characterized by a circular geometry. SRLs have attracted attention due to the possibility of monolithical integration of thousands of them on the same chip in a cheap and reliable way. SRLs are interesting for applications that rely on the presence of two counter-propagating modes inside the optical cavity. For instance, fully symmetric coupled SRLs have been proposed as candidates for the realisation of small and fast all-optical memories. At the same time, a wealth of nonlinear and stochastic dynamics have been predicted and observed in symmetric SRLs which is a consequence of the underlying Z2-symmetry of the device. However, unavoidable fabrication defects, material roughness and chip-cleaving break the device symmetry in an uncontrolled and unpredictable way, which may result in a deterioration of the device's performance in applications such as all-optical signal-processing. Despite their importance, the effects of symmetry breaking in SRLs remain unaddressed. In this contribution we investigate theoretically and experimentally the stochastic dynamics of SRLs with weakly broken Z2-symmetry . We show how the symmetry of an SRL can be experimentally manipulated using the reflection from a cleaved facet of a multi-mode optical fibre and a control electrode on the bus waveguide. The experiments are performed on an InP-based multi-quantum well SRL operating in single-longitudinal mode regime. The power at the CCW output is collected using a fast photodiode connected to an oscilloscope with a sampling rate of 4.0 ns. For a not-too-weak symmetry breaking, we reveal that SRLs become excitable and therefore can emit large, deterministic power bursts as a response to stochastic fluctuations. The origin of excitability is explained by investigating the topology of the invariant manifolds of an asymptotic two-dimensional phase space model with broken Z2-invariance. The results of the experiments confirm the prediction of the theory.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 April 2010
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 7720, Semiconductor Lasers and Laser Dynamics IV, 772028 (27 April 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.854741
Show Author Affiliations
Lilia Mashal, Vrije Univ. Brussel (Belgium)
Stefano Beri, Vrije Univ. Brussel (Belgium)
Lendert Gelens, Vrije Univ. Brussel (Belgium)
Guy Van der Sande, Vrije Univ. Brussel (Belgium)
Gabor Mezosi, Univ. of Glasgow (United Kingdom)
Marc Sorel, Univ. of Glasgow (United Kingdom)
Jan Danckaert, Vrije Univ. Brussel (Belgium)
Guy Verschaffelt, Vrije Univ. Brussel (Belgium)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7720:
Semiconductor Lasers and Laser Dynamics IV
Krassimir Panajotov; Marc Sciamanna; Angel A. Valle; Rainer Michalzik, Editor(s)

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