Abstract

A passively alignment-stabilized external cavity quantum cascade laser (EC-QCL) employing a “cat’s eye”-type retroreflector and an ultra-narrowband transmissive interference filter for wavelength selection is demonstrated and experimentally investigated. Compared with conventional grating-tuned ECQCLs, the setup is nearly two orders of magnitude more stable against misalignment of the components, and spectral fluctuation is reduced by one order of magnitude, allowing for a simultaneously lightweight and fail-safe construction, suitable for applications outdoors and in space. It also allows for a substantially greater level of miniaturization and cost reduction. These advantages fit in well with the general properties of modern QCLs in the promise to deliver useful and affordable mid-infrared-light sources for a variety of spectroscopic and imaging applications.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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