Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Electrical Engineering


Electrical Engineering


Dr. Dennis Derickson


Insight Photonic Solutions Inc. has continued to develop their patented VT-DBR laser design; these wavelength tunable lasers promise marked image-quality and acquisition time improvements in SS-OCT applications.

To be well suited for SS-OCT, tunable lasers must be capable of producing a highly linear wavelength sweep across a tuning range well-matched to the medium being imaged; many different tunable lasers used in SS-OCT are compared to identify the optimal solution.

This work electrically and spectrally characterizes two completely new all-semiconductor VT-DBR designs to compare, as well. The Neptune VT-DBR, an O-band laser, operates around the 1310 nm range and is a robust solution for many OCT applications. The VTL-2 is the first 1060 nm VT-DBR laser to be demonstrated. It offers improved penetration through water over earlier designs which operate at longer wavelengths (e.g. - 1550 nm and 1310 nm), making it an optimal solution for the relatively deep imaging requirements of the human eye; the non-invasive nature of OCT makes it the ideal imaging technology for ophthalmology.

Each laser has five semiconductor P-N junction segments that collectively enable precise akinetic wavelength-tuning (i.e. - the tuning mechanism has no moving parts). In an SS-OCT system utilizing one of these laser packages, the segments are synchronously driven with high speed current signals that achieve the desired wavelength, power, and sweep pattern of the optical output.

To validate the laser’s fast tuning response time necessary for its use in SS-OCT, a circuit model of each tuning section is created; each laser section is modeled as a diode with a significant lead inductance. The dynamic resistance, effective capacitance, and lead inductance of this model are measured as a function of bias current and the response time corresponding to each bias condition is determined.

Tuning maps, spectral linewidths, and side-mode suppression ratio (SMSR) measurements important to SS-OCT performance are also collected.

Measured response times vary from 700 ps to 2 ns for the Neptune and 1.2 to 2.3 ns for the VTL-2. Linewidth measurements range from 9 MHz to 124 MHz for the Neptune and 300 kHz to 2 MHz for the VTL-2. SMSR measurements greater than 38 dB and 40 dB were observed for the Neptune and VTL-2, respectively. Collectively, these results implicate the VT-DBR lasers as ideal tunable sources for use in SS-OCT applications.

VTDBR_Poster_GMB.pdf (9214 kB)
VT-DBR conference paper

OSA_FiO_Conference_2015_GMB_JRE_DJD.pdf (673 kB)
VT-DBR poster presentation