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Highly coherent III-V-semiconductor laser emitting phase-, amplitude- and polarization-structured light for advanced sensing applications : Vortex, SPIN, Feedback Dynamics

Abstract : The goal of this PhD thesis is the study, design and the development of highly coherent III-V semiconductor laser sources based on multi-quantum wells (InGaAs/GaAs/AlGaAs) Vertical-External-Cavity-Surface-Emitting-Laser (VeCSEL), operating in the near infra-red (IR), and emitting high order Laguerre-Gauss (LG) and Hermite-Gauss (HG) modes. These modes, usually called ‘complex' or ‘structured' light, have a complex wavefronts, amplitudes and polarizations structures. We especially focus on lasers with modes carrying OAM, and also on sources with controlled photon's spin. These modes are of great interest for the development optical systems in several fields, such as telecommunications, optical tweezers, atom trapping and cooling, and sensing applications. We need to study the light eigenstates in high-finesse laser cavities, we describe these eigenstates with respect to the three axis of the light that define the photon state: longitudinal (frequency), transverse (spatial), and polarization. For each one of these axis, we study the physical ingredients governing mode formation, and develop the theoretical tools required for the calculation of the eigenmodes in non-conventional cavities.In a second step, as the mode selection in a laser involves light-matter interaction, we focus on dynamic study by writing the semi classical Maxwell-Bloch equations for our lasers. These equations allow us to study the role of temporal dynamics in laser mode selection, as well as the path the steady state. We use these theoretical models to explain some none /poorly understood questions, and which lead sometimes to erroneous interpretations in the scientific literature. We see in particular the question of the spontaneous selection of the wavefront handedness in vortex modes. We also address the development and the characterization of a III-V semiconductor based technology that enables us to efficiently select the wanted mode in the eigenbasis. We adopt an approach based on metamaterials integrated on the semiconductor gain structure (1/2- VCSEL) that play the role of a phase and amplitude mask. We use this technology to build a laser cavity that lifts the degeneracy and breaks the symmetry between vortex modes with opposite handedness. These two effects are of paramount importance when one wants to select a vortex mode with a well-defined charge and handedness. In order to control the polarization modes, we study the polarization properties of the optical cavity and the quantum-well based gain medium: the birefringence the dichroism, and the spin-flip time in the quantum wells. We make use of these elements to generate the wanted polarization states: stable linear, and circular carrying an angular momentum controlled via the pump spin. In the end, we present the design and building of a feedback laser sensor (self-mixing) for linear and rotational velocimetry, using a laser source emitting a vortex beam. This sensor shows an example of a measurement inaccessible using conventional laser sources. It takes advantage of the orbital angular momentum of the vortex beam to measure both translational and rotational velocities using the Doppler effect. We end this part by presenting other possible sensor designs for particle sizing, using other exotic modes generated in this work.
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Mohamed Seghir Seghilani. Highly coherent III-V-semiconductor laser emitting phase-, amplitude- and polarization-structured light for advanced sensing applications : Vortex, SPIN, Feedback Dynamics. Other. Université Montpellier, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015MONTS207⟩. ⟨tel-02049651⟩

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