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Lobanov, Y. V., Vakhtomin, Y. B., Pentin, I. V., Rosental, V. A., Smirnov, K. V., Goltsman, G. N., et al. (2021). Time-resolved measurements of light–current characteristic and mode competition in pulsed THz quantum cascade laser. Optical Engineering, 60(8), 1–8.
Abstract: Quantum cascade lasers (QCL) are widely adopted as prominent and easy-to-use solid-state sources of terahertz radiation. Yet some applications require generation and detection of very sharp and narrow terahertz-range pulses with a specific spectral composition. We have studied time-resolved light-current (L–I) characteristics of multimode THz QCL operated with a fast ramp of the injection current. Detection of THz pulses was carried out using an NbN superconducting hot-electron bolometer with the time constant of the order of 1 ns while the laser bias current was swept during a single driving pulse. A nonmonotonic behavior of the L–I characteristic with several visually separated subpeaks was found. This behavior is associated with the mode competition in THz QCL cavity, which we confirm by L–I measurements with use of an external Fabry–Perot interferometer for a discrete mode selection. We also have demonstrated the possibility to control the L–I shape with suppression of one of the subpeaks by simply adjusting the off-axis parabolic mirror for optimal optical alignment for one of the laser modes. The developed technique paves the way for rapid characterization of pulsed THz QCLs for further studies of the possibilities of using this approach in remote sensing.