Available Technology


A Vertical-External-Cavity-Surface-Emitting-Laser (VECSEL) comprises an external mirror that completes the lasing cavity. Changes in the separation between the light-emitting semiconductor chip and the external mirror directly modulate/tune the frequency/wavelength of the output laser light. Therefore, variations of the external cavity length can be accurately measured as frequency changes of the resulting laser.

The invention of an "Optomechanical Laser" emerges from our idea of building the chip-mirror assembly as part of a well-known mechanical structure. This mechanical oscillator converts a certain physical observable, such as acceleration or force (among others), into a length change of the external cavity. The optomechanical laser is a displacement-to-frequency transducer, which enables the measurement of a physical observable as a frequency that can be measured with exquisite accuracy.


An optomechanical laser includes: a basal member; a mechanical transducer; a laser disposed on the mechanical transducer, the laser being displaced along the displacement axis in response to a displacement of the mechanical transducer relative to the basal member; a mirror disposed on the armature in optical communication with the laser and opposing the laser; the armature disposed on the basal member and rigidly connecting the mirror to the basal member such that the mirror and the armature move in synchrony with the basal member, and the armature provides a substantially constant distance between the basal member and the mirror; and a cavity comprising: the laser; the mirror; and a cavity length between the laser and the mirror that changes in response to displacement of the laser according to the displacement of the mechanical transducer relative to the basal member, the optomechanical laser providing laser light.


The invention offers a compact sensing platform of high sensitivity that can be conveniently calibrated using optical or microwave frequency references. It can be conveniently manufactured using standard semiconductor manufacturing techniques that are already employed to make VECSEL lasers for high volume applications in telecommunications.

Felipe Cervantes, Jacob Taylor, and Jon Pratt
Patent Number: 
Technology Type(s): 
Laser and Optics, Laser Applications, Manufacturing, Electronics, Optical Frequency Measurement, Optical Technology, Precision Measurement,
Internal Laboratory Ref #: 
Patent Issue Date: 
September 18, 2018
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