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  1. We report continuous wave (cw) operation of a terahertz quantum-cascade vertical-external-cavity surface-emitting laser with an external cavity length of approximately 30 mm, benefited by an intra-cryostat focusing cavity. Compared to previous plano–plano cavities, an off-axis paraboloid mirror is introduced into the external cavity as a focusing element to reduce the diffraction loss and to enable cw lasing using small-area metasurfaces and long cavity lengths. The device shows lasing operation in the cw mode up to 111 K, and cw output power up to 11.5 mW at 77 K (0.5% wall-plug efficiency). A circular, directive beam pattern is collected, and free-running linewidths on the order of tens of kHz are measured over tens of seconds. 
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  2. Abstract

    Radiofrequency (RF) injection locking and spectral broadening of a terahertz (THz) quantum‐cascade vertical‐external‐cavity surface‐emitting laser (QC‐VECSEL) is demonstrated. An intracryostat VECSEL focusing cavity design is used to enable continuous‐wave lasing with a cavity length over 30 mm, which corresponds to a round‐trip frequency near 5 GHz. Strong RF current modulation is injected to the QC‐metasurface electrical bias to pull and lock the round‐trip frequency. The injection locking range at various RF injection powers is recorded and compared with the injection locking theory. Moreover, the lasing spectrum broadens from 14 GHz in free‐running mode to a maximum spectral width around 110 GHz with 20 dBm of injected RF power. This experimental setup is suitable for further exploration of active mode‐locking and picosecond pulse generation in THz QC‐VECSELs.

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  3. Wavelength beam-combining of four terahertz (THz) distributed-feedback quantum-cascade lasers (QCLs) is demonstrated using low-cost THz components that include a lens carved out of a plastic ball and a mechanically fabricated blazed grating. Single-lobed beams from predominantly single-mode QCLs radiating peak power in the range of50−<#comment/>170mWare overlapped in the far field at frequencies ranging from3.31−<#comment/>3.54THz. Collinear propagation with a maximum angular deviation of0.3∘<#comment/>is realized for the four beams. The total power efficiency for the focused and beam-combined radiation is as high as25%<#comment/>. This result could pave the way for future commercialization of beam-combined monolithic THz QCL arrays for multi-spectral THz sensing and spectroscopy at standoff distances.

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  4. Plasmonic lasers suffer from low output power and divergent beams due to their subwavelength metallic cavities. We developed a phase-locking scheme for such lasers to significantly enhance their radiative efficiency and beam quality. An array of metallic microcavities is longitudinally coupled through traveling plasmon waves, which leads to radiation in a single spectral mode and a diffraction limited single-lobed beam in the surface normal direction. We implemented our scheme for terahertz plasmonic quantum-cascade lasers (QCLs) and measured peak output power in excess of2Wfor a single-mode3.3THzQCL radiating in a narrow single-lobed beam, when operated at58Kin a compact Stirling cooler. We thereby demonstrated an order of magnitude increase in power and thirty-times higher average intensity for monolithic single-mode terahertz QCLs compared to prior work. The number of photons radiated from the cavity outnumber those absorbed within its claddings and semiconductor medium, which constitutes><#comment/>50%<#comment/>radiative efficiency and is significantly greater than that achieved for previous single-mode mid-infrared or terahertz QCLs.

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