The laser laboratory is dedicated to the development and application of infrared and terahertz lasers. Several laser systems have been developed by the department “Experimental Planetary Physics”. Each of them is unique in the sense that their operation parameters are optimized for particular applications. There are no lasers commercially available which will serve in these applications. These lasers are used in heterodyne spectrometers (GREAT, upGREAT on SOFIA) as well as in gas-phase and solid-state laser spectroscopy for planetary research and security applications. One of the laser systems based on a THz quantum cascade laser is currently being commercialized in a cooperation project with PDI, FBH, HUB and Eagleyard Photonics GmbH.
In addition to the lasers developed in-house, the laboratory has a wide range of commercially available infrared and terahertz lasers. These are:
These lasers are used in time-resolved spectroscopy, an important tool for detector characterization, to pump THz lasers which are used in heterodyne spectrometers as well as in laboratory spectroscopy. All lasers, home-made as well as commercial, are equipped with control electronics and, where necessary, with vacuum or cryogenic equipment (mechanical cryocoolers for 4-300K, 4K dipsticks, magnetic field facilities up to 3T, high-voltage power supplies, etc.). To characterize the lasers, a wide variety of equipment is available: Grating spectrometers (wavelength coverage 0.4 – 1.5µm, 9 -11µm, and 40 -500µm), a Fourier transform spectrometer (50 – 500µm) to determine the emission frequency, optical components such as polarizers, filters, lenses, etc. to shape the laser beam, power meters and detectors to calibrate the output power, and a beam-profile measurement setup for the wavelength range from 10µm to 1000µm (for M2 measurements).