Distributed Feedback Lasers: 3000 nm - 6000 nm

nanoplus DFB interband cascade laser facilitates new TDLAS applications in mid-infrared

nanoplus offers a DFB interband cascade laser (ICL) at any target wavelength in the mid-infrared (MIR) between 3 μm and 6 μm. The device operates in continuous wave (cw) mode around room temperature. Specifications and behavior are very comparable to a nanoplus laser at lower wavelengths. When you set up an ICL-based analyzer, you can, hence, transfer the engineering knowledge you have gained from building short-wavelength gas sensors.

TO66 header

The nanoplus DFB ICL opens tunable laser absorption spectroscopy (TLAS) for novel MIR applications in industrial gas sensing.

In the 3 μm to 6 μm wavelength window, now covered by interband cascade lasers, many industrially relevant trace gases have their strongest absorption bands. They show absorption strengths that are several orders of magnitude higher than those in other infrared (IR) areas. This concerns prevalent molecules such as carbon dioxide (CO2), nitric oxide (NO) or water (H2O). Most hydrocarbons, e. g. methane, equally locate their topmost absorbing features at these ICL wavelengths.

Using the strongest absorption band of the detected trace gas contributes to

  • accelerate the sensing speed
  • reduce the noise and
  • miniaturize the sensor.

nanoplus ICLs are considered for various progressive applications in industry and research. In the oil and gas sector, they enable accurate process control and support higher energy efficiency and pollutant reduction.

Compared to other sensing techniques, such as gas chromatography, TLAS-based sensors offer the unmatched advantage of real-time analysis.

nanoplus DFB ICL technology outperforms other MIR laser technologies

Different laser technologies have been investigated in recent years to access the 3 μm to 6 μm wavelength range. Besides interband cascade lasers, GaSb-based type I interband diodes and intersubband quantum cascade lasers (QCL) have been a major focus of research.

While GaSb-based type I interband diodes have the disadvantage of decreasing hole confinement and increasing Auger recombination, fast phonon scattering loss impairs the use of intersubband QCLs.

An interband cascade laser, in contrast, uses optical transitions between an electron state in the conduction band and a hole state in the valence band in a cascade of Sb-based type-II QW structures. A broken-gap band edge alignment enables the tailoring of the emission wavelength by altering the cascade structures.

Interband-cascade technology is ideal for high-performance lasing in the entire range from 3 μm to
6 μm due to relatively wavelength-independent threshold powers. It combines high performance with reasonably low power consumption. Like all nanoplus lasers, these devices are manufactured without epitaxial overgrowth, avoiding impairment of ICL performance due to the insertion of patterning-induced defects within the laser layers.

Discuss your project with us

nanoplus is the only laser manufacturer offering DFB interband cascade lasers in the total range from 3 μm to 6 μm. We do the complete processing in house and may adapt our processes to your specifications. Contact us now to discuss your project.

Prism Award Winners 2012

nanoplus DFB interband cascade lasers (ICLs) won the “Prism Award for Green Photonics and Sustainable Energy” in 2012. They cover the entire wavelength range from 3000 nm to 6000 nm. Many prominent gas species have their strongest absorption features in this window. They are now accessible for tunable diode laser spectroscopy in industry and research. SPIE and Photonics Media honored the laser development in a ceremony during Photonics West in San Francisco.

Related information for nanoplus DFB interband cascade lasers between 3000 nm and 6000 nm


Mountings & Accessories


Papers & Links

The following table summarizes the typical DFB laser specifications in the 3000 nm to 6000 nm range:

wavelength precisionδnm0.1
optical output powerPoutmW> 1
forward currentIfmA70
threshold currentlthmA50
current tuning coefficientCInm / mA0.2
temperature tuning coefficientCTnm / K0.3
typical maximum operating voltageVopV4 - 6
slope efficiencyemW / mA0.06
side mode suppression ratioSMSRdB> 35
slow axis (FWHM)degrees35
fast axis (FWHM)degrees55
storage temperatureTS°C+20
operational temperature at caseTC°C+20

nanoplus DFB lasers show outstanding spectral, tuning and electrical properties. They are demonstrated in figures 1 - 3. Click on the graphics to enlarge.

Figure 1: Spectrum of nanoplus 3270 nm DFB interband cascade laser
Figure 1: Spectrum of nanoplus 3270 nm DFB interband cascade laser
Figure 2: Mode hop free tuning of nanoplus 3270 nm DFB interband cascade laser
Figure 2: Mode hop free tuning of nanoplus 3270 nm DFB interband cascade laser
Figure 3: Typical power, voltage and current characteristics of nanoplus 3270 nm DFB interband cascade laser
Figure 3: Typical power, voltage and current characteristics of nanoplus 3270 nm DFB interband cascade laser

If you are uncertain whether you require a DFB laser, compare the specifications with our Fabry Perot Lasers or contact us.

Free space mounting

nanoplus developed a specific free space package for interband cascade lasers. The TO66 header disposes of an extra large thermo-electric cooler. It is hermetically sealed with a black cap and anti reflection coated window. Please click on the mounting for detailed specifications and dimensions.

TO66 header
with TEC
and thermistor,
black cap and
AR coated window
TO66 header


TO66 heatsink
TO66 heatsink

The nanoplus TO66 heatsink facilitates your laser set up by:

  • improved heat distribution
  • connectors for laser diode driver
  • connectors for temperature controller
  • M6 thread for optical posts
  • easy use with standard cage systems
nanoplus compact collimation module with heatsink and lens
nanoplus compact collimation module with heatsink and lens

The nanoplus compact collimation module offers:

  • collimated beam
  • specified beam direction
  • identical reference and heat sink plane
  • TEC + thermistor
  • hermetically sealed laser housing

Carbon dioxide, nitric oxide, water vapour and most hydrocarbons, like methane, acetylene, formaldehyde and ethane have their strongest absorption features between 3000 nm and 6000 nm.

For detailed absorption data, please refer to HITRAN database and to our Applications by Gas section.

Please find below a selection of related papers from our literature list.

Let us know if you published a paper with our lasers. We will be happy to include it in our literature list.

#2 Advanced Gas Sensing Applications Above 3 µm with DFB Laser Diodes;
L. Naehle, L. Hildebrandt, M. Fischer, J. Koeth, Gases & Instrumentation, March/April 2012, pp. 25-28.

#5 DFB lasers exceeding 3 µm for industrial applications;
L. Naehle, L. Hildebrandt, Laser+Photonics 2012, pp. 78-80.

#7 DFB laser diodes expand hydrocarbon sensing beyond 3 µm;
L. Hildebrandt, L. Naehle, Laser Focus World, January 2012, pp. 87-90.

#8 ICLs open opportuneties for mid-IR seinsing;
L. Naehle, L. Hildebrandt, M. Kamp, S. Hoefling, Laser Focus World, May 2013, pp. 70-73.

#9 DFB Lasers Between 760 nm and 16 µm for Sensing Applications;
W. Zeller, L. Naehle, P. Fuchs, F. Gerschuetz, L. Hildebrandt, J. Koeth, Sensors 2010, 10, pp. 2492-2510.

#13 Continuous-wave operation of type-I quantum well DFB laser diodes emitting in 3.4 µm wavelength range around room temperature;
L. Naehle, S. Belahsene, M. von Edlinger, M. Fischer, G. Boissier, P. Grech, G. Narcy, A. Vicet, Y. Rouillard, J. Koeth and L. Worschech, Electron. Lett. 47, 1, Jan 2011, pp. 46-47.

#18 Monomode Interband Cascade Lasers at 5.2 µm for Nitric Oxide Sensing;
M. von Edlinger, J. Scheuermann, R. Weih, C. Zimmermann, L. Naehle, M. Fischer, J. Koeth, IEEE Phot. Tech. Lett., 26, 5, 2014, pp. 480-482.

#22 Sensing of formaldehyde using a distributed feedback interband cascade laser emitting around 3493 nm;
S. Lundqvist, P. Kluczynski, R. Weih, M. von Edlinger, L. Naehle, M. Fischer, A. Bauer, S. Hoefling, J. Koeth, Appl. Opt., 51, 25, 2012, pp. 6009-6013.

#26 Corrugated-sidewall interband cascade lasers with single-mode midwave-infrared emission at room temperature;
C.S. Kim, M. Kim, W.W. Bewley, J.R. Lindle, C.L. Canedy, J. Abell, I. Vurgaftman, J.R. Meyer, Appl. Phys. Lett., 95, 2009, 231103.

#36 Single mode interband cascade lasers based on lateral metal gratings;
R. Weih, L. Naehle, Sven Hoefling, J. Koeth, M. Kamp, Appl. Phys. Lett., 105, 7, 2014, pp. 071111.

#40 Comb-assisted spectroscopy of CO2 absorption profiles in the near- and mid-infrared regions;
A. Gambetta, D. Gatti, A. Castrillo, N. Coluccelli, G. Galzerano, P. Laporta, L. Gianfrani, M. Marangoni, Appl. Phys. B, 109, 3, Nov. 2012, pp. 385-390.

#43 Chemical analysis of surgical smoke by infrared laser spectroscopy;
Michele Gianella, Markus W. Sigrist, Appl. Phys. B, 109, 3, Nov. 2012, pp. 485-496.

#53 CW DFB RT diode laser-based sensor for trace-gas detection of ethane using a novel compact multipass gas absorption cell;
K. Krzempek, M. Jahjah, R. Lewicki, P. Stefanski, S. So, D. Thomazy, F.K. Tittel, Appl. Phys. B, 112, 4, Sept. 2013, pp. 461-465.

#54 Demonstration of the self-mixing effect in interband cascade lasers;
K. Bertling, Y.L. Lim, T. Taimre, D. Indjin, P. Dean, R. Weih, S. Hoefling, M. Kamp, M. von Edlinger, J. Koeth, A.D. Rakic, Appl. Phys. Lett., 103, 2013, 231107.

#61 Demonstration of an Ethane Spectrometer for Methane Source Identification;
T.I. Yacovitch, S.C. Herndon, J.R. Roscioli, C. Floerchinger, R.M. McGovern, M. Agnese, G. Petron, J. Kofler, C. Sweeney, A. Karion, S.A. Conley, E.A. Kort, L. Naehle, M. Fischer, L. Hildebrandt,.J. Koeth, J.B. McManus, D.D. Nelson, M.S. Zahniser, C.E. Kolb, Environ. Sci. Technol., 48, 2014, 8028-8034.

#62 High-sensitivity interference-free diagnostic for measurement of methane in shock tubes;
R. Sur, S. Wang, K. Sun, D. F. Davidson, J. B. Jeffries, R. K. Hanson, J. of Quant. Spectrosc. and Rad. Transfer, Vol. 156, May 2015, pp. 80–87.

#64 Interband Cascade Lasers - Topical Review;
I. Vurgaftman, R. Weih, M. Kamp, C.L. Canedy, C.S. Kim, M. Kim, W.W. Bewley, C.D. Merritt, J. Abell, S. Hoefling, J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 48, 2015, pp. 123001-12017.

#67 New Opportunities in Mid-Infrared Emission Control;
P. Geiser, Sensors, 2015, pp. 22724-22736.

#74 Optical feedback cavity-enhanced absorption spectroscopy with a 3.24 μm interband cascade laser;
K. M. Manfred, G. A. D. Ritchie, N. Lang, J. Röpcke, and J. H. van Helden, App. Phys. Lett., 106, 2015, 221106.

#75 Interband cascade laser sources in the mid-infrared for green photonics;
J. Koeth, M. von Edlinger, J. Scheuermann, S. Becker, L. Nähle, M. Fischer, R. Weih, M. Kamp, S. Höfling, Proc. SPIE 9767, Novel In-Plane Semiconductor Lasers XV, 976712, March 10, 2016

#77 Compact TDLAS based sensor design using interband cascade lasers for mid-IR trace gas sensing;
L. Dong, F. K. Tittel, C. Li, N. P. Sanchez, H. Wu, C. Zheng, Y. Yu, A. Sampaolo, R. J. Griffin; Optics Express Vol. 24, Issue 6, 2016, pp. A528-A535.

#78 Ppb-level formaldehyde detection using a CW room-temperature interband cascade laser and a miniature dense pattern multipass gas cell;
L. Dong,Y. Yu,.C. Li, S. So, F. Tittel, Optics Express Vol. 23, Issue 15, 2015, pp. 19821-19830.

#79 InAs-based distributed feedback interband cascade lasers;
M. Dallner, J. Scheuermann, L. Nähle, M. Fischer, J. Koeth, S. Höfling, M. Kamp, Appl. Phys. Lett. 107, 2015, 181105.

#80 Single-mode interband cascade lasers emitting below 2.8 μm;
J. Scheuermann, R. Weih, M. v. Edlinger, L. Nähle, M. Fischer, J. Koeth, M. Kamp, S. Höfling, Appl. Phys. Lett. 106, 2015, 161103.

#81 Dynamic spectral characteristics measurement of DFB interband cascade laser under
injection current tuning
Z. Du, G. Luo, Y. An, J. Li, Appl. Phys. Lett. 109, 2016, 011903.

#82 Ppb-level mid-infrared ethane detection based on three measurement schemes using a 3.34 μm continuous-wave interband cascade laser;
C. Li, C. Zheng, L. Dong, W. Ye, F. K. Tittel, Y. Wang, Appl. Phys. B, July 2016, 122:185.

# 83 Mid-infrared surface plasmon polariton chemical sensing on fiber-coupled ITO coated glass;
J. Martínez, A. Ródenas, M. Aguiló, T. Fernandez, J. Solis, F. Díaz, Optics Letters, Vol. 41, No. 11, June 1 2016,
pp. 2493 - 2496.

# 85 Frequency modulation characteristics for interband cascade lasers emitting at 3 µm;
J. Li, Z. Du, Y. An, Appl. Phys. B, 2015, 121:7–17.

# 86 Detection of methyl mercaptan with a 3393‑nm distributed feedback interband cascade laser;
Z. Du, W. Zhen, Z. Zhang, J. Li, N. Gao, Appl. Phys. B, 2016, 122: 100.

#87 Optical‑feedback cavity‑enhanced absorption spectroscopy with an interband cascade laser: application to SO2 trace analysis;
L. Richard, I. Ventrillard, G. Chau, K. Jaulin, E. Kerstel, D. Romanini, Appl. Phys. B, 2016, 122:247.

#89 Mars methane detection and variability at Gale crater;
C. R. Webster, P. R. Mahaffy, S. K. Atreya, G. J. Flesch, M. A. Mischna, P.-Y. Meslin, K. A. Farley, P. G. Conrad,L. E. Christensen, A. A. Pavlov, J. Martín-Torres, M.-P. Zorzano, T. H. McConnochie, T. Owen, J. L. Eigenbrode, D. P. Glavin, A. Steele, C. A. Malespin, P. Douglas Archer Jr., B. Sutter, P. Coll, C. Freissinet, C. P. McKay, J. E. Moores, S. P. Schwenzer, J. C. Bridges, R. Navarro-Gonzalez, R. Gellert, M. T. Lemmon, the MSL Science Team, Science, Vol. 347, Issue 6220, Jan 23, 2015, pp. 415-417.

#90 Optical feedback cavity-enhanced absorption spectroscopy with a 3.24 µm interband cascade laser;
K. M. Manfred, G. A. D. Ritchie, N. Lang, J. Roepcke, J. H. van Helden, Appl. Phys. Lett. 106, 2015, 221106.


nanoplus ICL introduction: Introduction into nanoplus DFB Interband Cascade Lasers for Tunable Diode Laser Absorption Spectroscopy

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