Fast optical sampling by electronic repetition-rate tuning using a single mode-locked laser diode

D. Bajek, M. A. Cataluna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


This paper demonstrates optical sampling by electronic repetition-rate tuning (OSBERT): a single-laser optical sampling technique capable of fast scan rates and customisable scan ranges. The method has no moving parts and is based on the electronic modulation of the repetition rate of a passively mode-locked laser diode, simply by varying the reverse bias applied directly to the saturable absorber section of the laser. Varying the repetition rate in a system built as a highly imbalanced interferometer results in pairs of (pump, probe) pulses with successive increasing delay. The resulting scan range is proportional to the magnitude of the repetition rate modulation and is scaled by the chosen length of the imbalance. As a first proof of concept, we apply the method to distance measurement, where the displacement of a target across 13.0 mm was detected with ∼0.1 mm standard deviation from an equivalent free-space distance of 36 m and at a real-time scan rate of 1 kHz. The customizable scan range and competitive scan rate of the method paves the way for single ultrafast semiconductor laser diodes to be deployed as fast, low-cost, and compact optical sampling systems in metrology, biomedical microscopy, and sensing applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6890-6902
Number of pages13
JournalOptics Express
Issue number5
Early online date19 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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