A burgeoning fiber optic communications industry is nourishing advances in support devices, not the least of which is the development of tunable laser diodes. Research groups are exploring methods to achieve tunable laser diodes. One group has come up with a hybrid device using off-the-shelf parts, potentially bringing down costs.
Engineers at the University of Arizona's Optical Data Storage Center and at VTT Electronics in Finland have demonstrated a 4-nm range of quasi-continuous tuning in a laser diode based on an extremely short external-cavity configuration. As they reported in the January 1999 issue of IEEE Photonics Technology Letters, they did so by butt-coupling a 980-nm edge-emitting high-power laser diode to an electrostatically tunable Fabry-Perot interferometer.
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