Planarized THz quantum cascade lasers for broadband coherent photonics

Planarized THz quantum cascade lasers for broadband coherent photonics

Recently, there has been a growing interest in integrated THz photonics for various applications in communications, spectroscopy and sensing. We present a new integrated photonic platform based on active and passive elements integrated in a double-metal, high-confinement waveguide layout planarized with a low-loss polymer. An extended top metallization keeps waveguide losses low while improving dispersion, thermal and RF properties, as it enables to decouple the design of THz and microwave cavities. Free-running on-chip quantum cascade laser combs spanning 800 GHz, harmonic states with over 1.1 THz bandwidth and RF-injected broadband incoherent states spanning over nearly 1.6 THz are observed using a homogeneous quantum-cascade active core. With a strong external RF drive, actively mode-locked pulses as short as 4.4 ps can be produced, as measured by SWIFTS. We demonstrate as well passive waveguides with low insertion loss, enabling the tuning of the laser cavity boundary conditions and the co-integration of active and passive elements on the same THz photonic chip. We present a high-performance integrated platform for broadband active and passive coherent photonics based on planarized THz quantum cascade lasers, featuring low losses and improved dispersion, RF and thermal properties.

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