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Continuously-tunable external cavity laser

Image Number 4 for United States Patent #6108355.

The present invention provides an external cavity laser that has wide-range continuous tuning and is compatible with a compact, robust, inexpensive form factor. In an embodiment of the invention a tunable external cavity laser is disclosed. The laser includes a laser amplifier, a retroreflector, a first and second reflector and a translator. The retroreflector is located in a path of the beam provided by the laser amplifier. The first and second reflectors are positioned opposite one another and in the path of the beam between the laser amplifier and the retroreflector. The translator translates at least one of said first reflector and said second reflector to vary the separation between the reflectors along the path of the beam, thereby tuning the laser amplifier. In another embodiment of the invention a method for adjusting wavelength in an optical device is disclosed. The method comprises the act of translating at least one of the first and the second reflective surfaces to vary a separation between the reflectors along the path of a beam emitted by the laser amplifier to tune the laser.

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