Fiber lasers overcome manufacturing defects

A team of researchers from Singapore has designed the first electrically driven topological laser system. Such a fiber laser can efficiently overcome manufacturing imperfections as well as corners due to the application of topologically protected photonic modes.

It should be noted that in the 1980s, the researchers discovered that electrons flowing in certain materials had “topological” qualities, therefore, installed in fiber laser systems they allowed flowing around corners or defects without scattering or leaking.

This topological technique has been recently applied to photons by the team of researchers from Singapore. They used a quantum cascade fiber laser on advanced semiconductor wafers developed by the team. To be more precise, the team exploited a design that included a valley photonic crystal to reach topological states on a laser beam platform.

The thing is that the design of the compact fiber laser system contains “hexagonal holes arranged in a triangular lattice, etched into a semiconductor wafer. Within the microstructure, the topological states of light circulate within a triangular loop with a 1.2-mm circumference. The loop acts as an optical resonator to accumulate the light energy required to form a laser beam.”

Herewith, here the laser beam light circulates in this loop as well as goes around the sharp corners of the triangle due to specific qualities of topological states while usually lightwaves are disturbed by the sharp corners, interfering them from circulating smoothly.

The quantum cascade fiber laser allows emitting laser beam light at terahertz (THz) frequencies. Although previous demonstrations needed for an external laser beam source for optical pumping, now the developed fiber laser is based on an electrically pumped THz quantum cascade technology that uses topologically protected valley edge states, thus, the application includes the valley degree of freedom in photonic crystals.

The thing is that electrically driven semiconductor laser systems are considered to be the most standard type of laser technology device at present and have a wide range of applications, from barcode readers to laser ranging sensors for autonomous vehicles.

Nevertheless, the manufacture of fiber laser systems has numerous challenges and modern laser module designs may not work well if any imperfections are introduced into the structure of the laser during manufacturing. Herewith, the new topological laser system solves the problem and can result in more efficient manufacturing employing existing laser technologies.

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