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Stochasticity, complexity and synchronization in semiconductor lasers

Jordi Tiana-Alsina, Presentation date: November 10, 2011

Author: Jordi Tiana-Alsina
Title: Stochasticity, complexity and synchronization in semiconductor lasers
Director: J. García-Ojalvo and M. C. Torrent
Presentation date: November 10, 2011
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Abstract: The purpose of this Thesis is study the dynamical behavior of semiconductor lasers with optical feedback, as well as analyze the synchronization of this kind of systems under different coupling arquitectures. This study has been done from an experimental point of view, but in some cases we have used numerical models in order to verify and/or extend the experimental results. A semiconductor laser in absence of any optical feedback emits light at constant power. If one wants to induce dynamics in the laser, a good strategy is to introduce an external cavity able to reflect the emitted light back into the laser. Due to this feedback, the laser can show a large variety of dynamical behaviors. In this Thesis we will focus mainly in a dynamical regime known as low frequency fluctuations regime (LFF). The LFF regime takes place when the pump current of the laser is close to its threshold current and the feedback strength is sufficiently large, and it consists in sudden intensity dropouts arising at irregular times, followed by a gradual and stepwise recovery. During this Thesis, we have characterized in detail the dynamical behavior of the time between intensity dropouts for a semiconductor laser with feedback, by using different statistical techniques based on information theory concepts. We have quantified the probability of appearance of certain patterns within the temporal series, as well as its degree of complexity. As a result of these studies, we can conclude that the dynamics of a semiconductor laser with optical feedback is stochastic for pump current values close to the laser threshold. On the other hand, for larger pump currents the dynamics is basically deterministic (chaotic). Numerical simulations have shown a good qualitative and quantitive agreement with the experimental results. During this Thesis we have also studied the ability of semiconductor lasers to synchronize under different coupling architectures. First, we have characterized the leader-laggard dynamics showed by two semiconductor lasers bidirectionally coupled operating at the LFF regime, with a method that takes into account the number of forbidden patterns that appears in the temporal series. We have quantified the degree of stochasticity of the system as a function of the pump current of both lasers. A second coupling architecture studied here, consists in two lasers unidirectionally coupled via two paths. In this case, we have analyzed how the synchronization is affected under different values of the coupling strength of both paths, as well as the potential of this system (or rather, the lack thereof) to be used in chaotic communications. Finally we have characterized the synchronization at zero lag for two lasers coupled bidirectionally via a passive relay. In particular, we have studied the desynchronization events and their statistics for different pump currents. The experimental results obtained in this Thesis give a global perspective of the dynamical statistical properties of semiconductor laser dynamics, both isolated or coupled to other lasers, which contributes to a better understanding of this kind of dynamical systems.