Demonstrating ultrafast polarization dynamics in spin-VCSELs

Lindemann, M. and Pusch, T. and Michalzik, R. and Gerhardt, N.C. and Hofmann, M.R.

Volume: 10552 Pages:
DOI: 10.1117/12.2289560
Published: 2018

Vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) are used for short-haul optical data transmission with increasing bit rates. The optimization involves both enhanced device designs and the use of higher-order modulation formats. In order to improve the modulation bandwidth substantially, the presented work employs spin-pumped VCSELs (spin-VCSELs) and their polarization dynamics instead of relying on intensity-modulated devices. In spin-VCSELs, the polarization state of the emitted light is controllable via spin injection. By optical spin pumping a single-mode VCSEL is forced to emit light composed of both orthogonal linearly polarized fundamental modes. The frequencies of these two modes differ slightly by a value determined by the cavity birefringence. As a result, the circular polarization degree oscillates with their beat frequency, i.e., with the birefringence-induced mode splitting. We used this phenomenon to show so-called polarization oscillations, which are generated by pulsed spin injection. Their frequency represents the polarization dynamics resonance frequency and can be tuned over a wide range via the birefringence, nearly independent from any other laser parameter. In previous work we demonstrated a maximum birefringence-induced mode splitting of more than 250 GHz. In this work, compared to previous publications, we show an almost doubled polarization oscillation frequency of more than 80 GHz. Furthermore, we discuss concepts to achieve even higher values far above 100 GHz. © 2018 SPIE.

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