Optical and Quantum Electronics

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 83-95

First online:

Novel photonic applications of nonlinear semiconductor laser dynamics

  • Sze-Chun ChanAffiliated withDepartment of Electrical Engineering, University of California Email author 
  • , Rosemary DiazAffiliated withDepartment of Electrical Engineering, University of California
  • , Jia-Ming LiuAffiliated withDepartment of Electrical Engineering, University of California

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With a proper perturbation, even a single-mode semiconductor laser can exhibit highly complex dynamical characteristics ranging from stable, narrow-linewidth oscillation to broadband chaos. In recent years, three approaches to invoke complex nonlinear dynamical states in a single-mode semiconductor laser have been thoroughly studied: optical injection, optical feedback, and optoelectronic feedback. In each case, the nonlinear dynamics of the semiconductor laser depends on five intrinsic laser parameters and three operational parameters. The dynamical state of a given laser can be precisely controlled by properly adjusting the three operational parameters. This ability to control the dynamical behavior of a laser, combined with the understanding of its characteristics, opens up the opportunity for a wide range of novel applications. This paper illustrates the utilization of the rich nonlinear dynamics of single-mode semiconductor lasers by focusing on the period-one oscillation for its applications in tunable photonic microwave generation, AM-to-FM conversion, and dual-frequency precision Doppler lidar.


Semiconductor lasers Optical injection Nonlinear dynamics Microwave photonics Lidar