Optical Science and Engineering ETDs


Chang-Yi Lin

Publication Date



Semiconductor mode-locked lasers (MLLs) are important as compact and cost-effective sources of picosecond or sub-picosecond optical pulses with moderate peak powers. They have potential use in various fields including optical interconnects for clock distribution at an inter-chip/intra-chip level as well as high bit-rate optical time division multiplexing (OTDM), diverse waveform generation, and microwave signal generation. However, there are still several challenges to conquer for engineering applications. Semiconductor MLLs sources have generally not been able to match the noise performance and pulse quality of the best solid-state mode-locked lasers. For improving the characteristics of semiconductor mode-locked lasers, research on both the material/device design and stabilization mechanism is necessary. In this dissertation, by extending the net-gain modulation phasor approach based on a microwave photonics perspective, a convenient, yet powerful analytical model is derived and experimentally verified for the cavity design of semiconductor two-section passive MLLs. This model will also be useful in designing the next generation quantum dot (QD) MLL capable of stable operation from 20°C to 100°C for optical interconnects applications. The compact optical generation of microwave signals using a monolithic passive QD MLL is investigated. Relevant equations for the efficient conversion of electrical to optical to electrical (EOE) energy are derived and the device principles are described. In order to verify the function of a QD MLL as an RF signal generator, the integration with a rectangular patch antenna system is also studied. Furthermore, combined with the reconfigurable function, the multi-section QD MLL will be a promising candidate of the compact, efficient RF signal source in wireless, beam steering, and satellite communication applications. The noise performance is a key element for semiconductor MLLs in OTDM communications. The external stabilization methods to improve the timing stability in passive MLLs have been studied and an all-microwave measurement technique has also been developed to determine the pulse-to-pulse rms timing jitter. Compared to the conventional optical cross-correlation technique, the new method provides an alternative and simple approach to characterize the timing jitter in a passive MLL. The average pulse-to-pulse rms timing jitter is reduced to 32 fs/cycle under external optical feedback stabilization.

Degree Name

Optical Science and Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Optical Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Lester, Luke

First Committee Member (Chair)

Christodoulou, Christos

Second Committee Member

Sheik-Bahae, Mansoor

Third Committee Member

Hossein-Zadeh, Mani

Document Type