Digitally Selected Electronically Switchable Terahertz-over-Fibre

  • Mohammad Khairuzzaman

Student thesis: Phd


The Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL)-based terahertz-over-fibre (ToF) concept combines the strength of QCLs as ultra-wide bandwidth, high speed data sources, with the mature optical fibre technology. In this thesis, for the first time, by fusing multiple technologies, digitally selected, electronically-switchable ToF concept is experimentally demonstrated. Furthermore, the digital mode selection principle and electronic tuning mechanism provided by novel aperiodic distributed feedback (ADFB) multi-band filters are presented. For the development of electronically tunable ADFB lasers, a range of bound-to-continuum and chirped superlattice terahertz (THz) QCLs are measured across the frequency range 2.9 - 4.5 THz. The availability of these active materials allowed rapid assessments of the optimum design parameters for subsequent measurements. First, a range of photonic lattice-engineered lasers operating at 4.4 THz are characterized and key design parameters identified. Following this initial development, full electrical and spectral characterization of ADFB lasers operating at 2.9 THz are presented. The novelty of this work lies in the first-ever successful demonstration of discretely tunable QCLs, operating at six distinct THz frequencies. The ADFB technology was experimentally applied using various device geometries and gain dynamics. Toward this aim, results are presented for a Y coupled QCL architecture, showing that complex on-chip signal manipulation can be extended into the THz regime. In addition, it is demonstrated that ADFB technology provides broadband multi-channel optical filtering for the entire gain bandwidth. It is shown that discrete, purely electronic, tuning of simultaneous dual colour output can be achieved. Multi band optical filter functions derived from ADFB gratings possess highly nonlinear dispersion across the filter bandwidth and are found to modify the gain-induced, driving current-dependent continuous mode tuning. This thesis, therefore, presents a systematic experimental analysis of the dispersion engineered continuous fine-tuning in THz QCLs. In the final two chapters, the thesis presents, for the first time, transmission of tunable THz signals over standard single-mode optical fibre by up converting 2.9 THz QCL radiation via intra-cavity nonlinear mixing with an optical fibre-injected near-infrared (NIR) carrier in the 1.3 µm band. Discrete and continuous tuning technologies, as developed in chapters 3 - 5, are now successfully transferred to THz sidebands on the NIR carrier, extracted via a butt coupled single mode fibre and recorded using an optical spectrum analyzer. The major novel outcome of this thesis is the first demonstration of electronically tunable phase-matched points in a THz plasmon waveguide. The key breakthrough is the experimental confirmation of the photonic band-gap engineering of group velocity of THz signals - as both 'fast' and 'slow' switchable side bands are observed. Such novel nonlinear up-conversion of spectrally flexible THz signals may open up new possibilities for ultrafast THz telecom frameworks.
Date of Award1 Aug 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorSubhasish Chakraborty (Supervisor)


  • Switchable THz-over-Fibre, Terahertz, Quantum Cascade Laser, Digitally Selected, Electronically Tunable, Aperiodic Distributed Feedback Lasers, Multi-band Filters
  • Nonlinear mixing, Frequency upconversion, Tunable Phase Matching

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