Laser laboratory


 Experimental setup for laser characterization.
zum Bild Experimental setup for laser characterization.

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.

  • DC-excited CO2 lasers (continuous wave, 9 - 11µm, 50W peak power);
  • Optically-pumped THz gas lasers (continuous wave, selected frequencies between 50 – 500µm, up to 10mW);
  • several THz germanium lasers (pulsed, variable pulse length from ns to µs, 70 – 120µm);
  • several THz silicon lasers (pulsed, pulse length 50ns, several wavelengths around 50µm);
  • several THz quantum cascade lasers (62-119µm, up to 10mW power, continuous-wave and pulsed)

In addition to the lasers developed in-house, the laboratory has a wide range of commercially available infrared and terahertz lasers. These are:

  • Ti:sapphire laser (0.78µm, pulsed, 20fs pulse length, 76MHz repetition rate)
  • IR diode lasers (continuous-wave and pulsed, 1.5µm)
  • RF-excited CO2 lasers (continuous wave, 9 -11µm, 40W peak power)
  • TEA CO2 laser (9.2 -10.8µm, pulsed, 50ns pulse length, 1MW peak power, 50mJ pulse energy)
 Two PhD students of the Helmholtz Research School on Security Technologies working on a laser system.
zum Bild Two PhD students of the Helmholtz Research School on Security Technologies working on a laser system.

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).

Dr. rer. nat. Heiko Richter
German Aerospace Center

Institute of Optical Sensor Systems
, LIBS, Raman- and THz-Spectroscopy Group
Tel: +49 30 67055-697

Fax: +49 30 67055-532

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