Quantum cascade lasers, systems, and applications in Europe
Since the invention of the Quantum Cascade Laser(QCL) a decade ago an impressive progress has been achieved from first low temperature pulsed laser emission to continuous wave operation at room temperature. Distributed feedback(DFB)lasers working in pulsed mode at ambient temperatures and covering a broad spectral range in the mid infrared (MIR) are commercially available now. For many industrial applications e.g. automotive exhaust control and process monitoring, laser spectroscopy is an established technique, generally using near infrared (NIR) diode lasers. However, the mid infrared (MIR) spectral region is of special interest because of much stronger absorption lines compared to NIR. The status of QCL devices, system development and applications is reviewed. Special emphasis is given to the situation in Europe where a remarkable growth of QCL related R&D can be observed.