Wavelength-tunable lasers are key devices in WDM systems. They can be integrated, for instance,
with an electro-absorption (EA) section or in a more complex structure such as an optical phase-locked loop (OPLL).
The performance of such structures may vary significantly for relatively small changes of the physical device
parameters and can also influence the system performance tremendously.
In this application example, we show a design of a tunable distributed amplification (TDA) DFB laser .
The schematic of the modeled device is represented in
It is implemented by a module which models a multisection semiconductor device consisting of a DFB cavity with 280 µm
total length. The cavity contains a grating and is formed by alternate gain (SOA) and passive (tuning) sections. The
active region type of the gain and tuning sections are MQW and bulk respectively. One current contact is applied to
each of the sections, where the injected current is divided for the gain and tuning sections.
The first design is formed by eight sections that perform alternating gain and tuning functions.
The length of the gain sections (Lsoa) is 40 µm, and 30 µm of the tuning sections (Ltune). In order to study the
wavelength tunability and mode-hopping response of the laser, a continuous ramp current from 0 to 100 mA is applied
to the tuning sections; the current of the SOA sections is swept in steps from 50 to 100 mA. The output frequency of
the laser versus output power is displayed in
In the next test, the length of the sections is varied while the total length of the device is kept constant.
represents the results for lasers with eight sections of different lengths. As we can see, the laser presents
mode hopping when the SOA sections are shorter than the tuning ones.
For the results represented in
all sections have the same length, but the number of sections is varied. We observe that when increasing the
number of sections, i.e., using sections with smaller length, the wavelength tunability and the output power
increase. For the case of 4 sections or less, the laser shows mode hopping.
Keywords: PICs, semiconductors, multisection laser, tunable laser, TDA DFB LD
Similar demonstrations are available in VPIComponentMaker Photonic Circuits and on the VPIphotonics Forum.
 H. Ishii, Y. Kondo, F. Kano, and Y. Yoshikuni, "A Tunable Distributed Amplification DFB Laser Diode (TDA-DFB-LD)", IEEE PTL 10, pp. 30-32 (1998).