Optical Science and Engineering ETDs

Publication Date



In recent years, passively mode-locked quantum dot lasers have shown great promise as compact, efficient and reliable pulsed sources of light for a range of precision and high performance applications, such as high bit-rate optical communications, diverse waveform generation, metrology, and clock distribution in high-performance computing (HPC) processors. For such applications, stable optical pulses with short picosecond pulse durations and multi-gigahertz repetition rates are required. In addition, a low pulse-to-pulse timing jitter is also necessary to prevent errors arising from the ambiguity between neighboring pulses. In order to optimize pulse quality in terms of optical characteristics such as pulse shape and pulse train behavior, as well as RF characteristics such as phase noise and timing jitter, understanding the nonlinear output dynamics of such devices is of critical importance, not only to get a sense of the regimes of operation where device output might be stable or unstable, but also to gain insight into the parameters that influence the output characteristics the most, and how they can be accessed and exploited to optimize design and performance for next generation applications. In this dissertation, theoretical and experimental studies have been combined to investigate the dynamical trends of two-section passively mode-locked quantum dot lasers. On the theoretical side, a novel numerical modeling scheme based on a previously developed theoretical model is presented as a powerful and versatile framework to study the nonlinear dynamics specific to a device, with device-specific parameters extracted over a range of operating conditions. The practical utility of this scheme is then demonstrated, first, in an analytical capability to interpret and explain dynamical trends observed in experiment, and subsequently, as a predictive tool to guide experiment to operate in a desired dynamical regime. Modeling results are compared to experimental findings where possible. Finally, optical feedback from an external reflector is experimentally studied as an additional control mechanism over the output dynamics of the device, and shown to enable invaluable insight into the behavior of the RF and optical spectra of the output. Together, the theoretical and experimental findings of this dissertation are shown to offer a systematic approach to understand, control and exploit the dynamical trends of passively mode-locked two-section quantum dot lasers.

Degree Name

Optical Science and Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Optical Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Lester, Luke

First Committee Member (Chair)

Prasad, Sudhakar

Second Committee Member

Balakrishnan, Ganesh

Third Committee Member

Grillot, Frederic


The Air Force Office of Scientific Research

Document Type