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Above: Four single frequency lasers at slightly different wavelengths mounted on a single bar prior to packaging. Above: Four single frequency lasers at slightly different wavelengths mounted on a single bar prior to packaging.

Semiconductor Lasers

Over the last two decades, semiconductor lasers have improved in performance to above-room-temperature operation with high output power (tens of milliwatts), low power consumption (less than a watt), and cover a wide range of wavelengths. Due to these advancements, tunable laser spectrometers have become the instrument of choice for precise measurements of gas abundances and their isotope ratios in Earth and planetary gases, arising from either the atmosphere or evolving from rock pyrolysis.

During the years of MDL’s existence, we have put in place all the necessary infrastructure and expertise required to design, fabricate, and space qualify semiconductor lasers. Today, MDL specializes in custom development and space qualification of a wide range of semiconductor laser, i.e., diodes, interband, and intersubband quantum cascade (QC) designs, made from a variety of material systems including gallium arsenide, gallium antimonide, and indium phosphide for wavelengths ranging from 1.0 to 10 μm.

Within the last year, MDL developed and delivered record high output power interband cascade (IC) lasers emitting in the 3.0–3.5 μm wavelength range, enabling the first applications of integrated cavity output spectroscopy (ICOS) instruments to study the chemistry of key halogens (such as HCl and ClO) in the stratosphere and cavity ring-down spectroscopy (CRD) instruments for detection of ethane at ppb levels.