Towards the generation of light-bullets in semiconductor lasers

Adrian Bartolo
niversité Côte d'Azur, INPHYNI, CNRS, 1361 route des lucioles, 06560 Valbonne, France

Localized structures (LS) are nonlinear solutions of dissipative systems characterized by a correlation range much shorter than the size of the system. Since they are individually addressable, LS can be used as fundamental bits for information processing in optical resonators. While spatial LS are confined peaks of light appearing in the transverse section of broad-area resonators, temporal LSs are short pulses travelling back and forth in the longitudinal direction of the cavity. Spatial and temporal LS have been observed independently in semiconductor lasers systems based on a gain medium coupled to a saturable absorber.

In this work we present preliminary results for the generation of spatio-temporal localized structures, also called “Light bullets”, in semiconductor lasers. In this case, light is stored in the three spatial dimensions, leading to information processing with disruptive performances in terms of bit rate, resilience and agility. Despite the effort made in nonlinear optics, only fading LB have been observed so far experimentally. Our approach consists of chasing “dissipative” LB, which will be robust and suitable to applications. Accordingly, once LB will be obtained and characterized, their application to information processing will be addressed by targeting a three-dimensional electro/optical buffer. The results shown were obtained using a vertical external cavity surface emitting laser, composed by a gain mirror and a semiconductor saturable absorber mirror (SESAM). These components have been properly engineered for matching the parameters requirements for implementing light bullets, which require a cavity roundtrip time much larger than the carrier relaxation time, a large Fresnel number and a bistable response of the system. We show that self-imaging condition between the gain section and the SESAM enables the first two conditions, while bistability can be obtained by designing the modulation depth of the SESAM.