Hamamatsu Photonics announces the world’s first QCL module with a tunable frequency range from 0.42 to 2 THz


External view of QCL module

External view of QCL module

Hamamatsu’s breakthrough was achieved by analyzing the principle governing the generation of terahertz waves※1 which enhance the QCL’s※2 output power, and the configuration of the highly efficient external cavity※3 while using our advanced optical design technology.

This research results in generating narrow-band terahertz waves all while switching the frequency of just one QCL module. This technology will help in polymer material identification as well as boost accuracy in quality evaluation for non-destructive inspection of drugs, foods, and semiconductors containing components that absorb terahertz waves. The QCL module using this technology will also prove to be a key innovative device for achieving future ultra-high-speed wireless communication.

These research results were published by the Optica Publishing Group in the electronic version of the scientific journal “Photonics Research” on February 22nd. Part of this research was commissioned by the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications as a “Strategic Information and Communications R&D Promotion Program (SCOPE)” (No. JP195006001).

*1: Terahertz waves are electromagnetic waves at a frequency around 1 THz and have properties intermediate between those of light and radio waves.

*2: QCL is a semiconductor laser light source that uses a special structure of the light-emitting layer. Unlike conventional lasers, QCL can produce high output power in a wavelength range from the mid-infrared to the far-infrared region.

*3: The external cavity is a resonator consisting of a diffraction grating mounted outside the semiconductor laser.

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