Air Force

Coherent laser sources radiating in the mid- and longwave IR and THz wavelength ranges

Organic-inorganic quasi-phase-matching structures for frequency conversion devices

Photonics Materials

Half-patterned template with the grown inorganic material (18) and grown organic material (22) on voids (16) and substrate (10).

Coherent laser sources radiating in the mid- and longwave IR and THz wavelength ranges are in great demand due to their suitability for a wide variety of defense, security, science, industry, and medical applications. However, current offerings are large in size, need cooling for proper operation, demonstrate limited output power, and are poorly tunable.

In order to address these shortcomings, Air Force researchers have combined the advantages of an inorganic wideband semiconductor and an organic crystalline material—both with high nonlinear susceptibilities and a broad range of transparency, including in the visible, IR and THz regions. By using homo- or hetero-epitaxially grown semiconductor layers deposited on a half-patterned (HP) crystalline inorganic template in combination with an organic crystal material filling grown inside the inorganic matrix, the process eliminates the need to use orientation-patterned (OP) templates.

The fabrication of such OP templates is a difficult, costly and time-consuming process. Thus, their replacement with HP templates, for which preparation is much easier and quite similar for many different materials, is a significant step towards simplification of the whole process. In addition, this novel method also eliminates the need of a subsequent thick epitaxial growth on the OP templates, which often requires years of effort to establish the optimal growth conditions each time when a new promising material is available for research. The methods provide distinct advantages over current offerings in the market in that both the organic crystals and inorganic crystals are grown in place in a manner which allows for full control of the polarity of each material independently, to maximize the effectiveness of the structure in frequency-conversion devices.

As a result of this invention, the development of the next-generation high-power, high-brightness, frequency-agile, room-temperature operating, compact coherent laser sources in the IR and THz spectral ranges is made possible. The new sources may be suitable for use in laser radar; high-speed IR communications; civil security through remote sensing of chemical and biological agents with scanners; biopsy-free detection and visualization of cancer cells; environmental sensing; industrial production; and spectroscopy applications.

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