IV-VI Mid-IR Tunable Lasers and Detectors with External Resonant Cavities
Wavelength tunable emitters and detectors in the mid-IR wavelength region allow applications including thermal imaging and spectroscopy. Such devices may be realized using a resonant cavity. By mechanically changing the cavity length with MEMS mirror techniques, the wavelengths may be tuned over a considerable range. Vertical external cavity surface emitting lasers (VECSEL) may be applied for gas spectroscopy. Resonant cavity enhanced detectors (RCED) are sensitive at the cavity resonance only. They may be applied for low resolution spectroscopy, and, when arrays of such detectors are realized, as multicolor IR-FPA or IR-AFPA (IR-adaptive focal plane arrays). We review mid-infrared RCEDs and VECSELs using narrow gap IV-VI (lead chalcogenide) materials like PbTe and PbSe as the active medium. IV-VIs are fault tolerant and allow easy wavelength tuning. The VECSELs operate up to above room temperature and emit in the 4 - 5 μm range with a PbSe active layer. RCEDs with PbTe absorbing layers above 200 K operating temperature have higher sensitivities than the theoretical limit for a similar broad-band detector coupled with a passive tunable band-filter.
Record created on 2015-07-09, modified on 2016-08-09