GaN-based material can potentially cover a wide spectral emission range, and laser diodes emitting in the UV, violet, blue, green, and red wavelengths have already been demonstrated and/or commercialized. GaN-based semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOAs) have the ability to boost the output power of laser diodes and thus are candidates for a broad variety of potential uses. Applications that utilize short wavelength, ultrafast pulses, including microprocessing, orthoptics, and next-generation optical storage can most benefit from GaN-based SOAs since current ultrafast pulse sources rely on large, expensive solid-state lasers. GaN-based SOAs can generate high-energy, high peak power optical pulses when used in conjunction with mode-locked laser diodes. In this chapter, the basic characteristics of these devices are discussed, concentrating on pulse amplification. Early experimental work, as well as the latest results, is presented, and improvements in the SOA design allowing the generation of higher optical pulse energy are discussed.
Part of the book: Some Advanced Functionalities of Optical Amplifiers