Quantum Cascade Lasers

High Peak Power Source


Alpes Lasers introduces its new high peak power sources. Based on a unique gain-guided design, these Quantum Cascade Lasers are optimized for emitting short pulses from 20 ns to 1000 ns with minimum peak power of 20 W, or ~5 microjoules per pulse. Available on submount or in a HHL package with a dedicated driver, these lasers can be used for free-space optical communications, LIDAR applications and IR countermeasures.

You can read more about the technology behind these high peak power devices in this  Optics Express paper.

Electro-Optical Characteristic Min.TypicalMax.
Peak Power20 W25 W30 W
Output SpectrumMultimode
Spectral Width50 cm-1100 cm-1150 cm-1
Duty Cycle 01%20%
Central Wavelength
4.57 um
Wall-Plug Efficiency5%
Horizontal Beam Divergence of laser chip50 mrad90 mrad120 mradHalf angle beam divergence at 1/e^2 of maximum
Vertical Beam Divergence of laser chip650 mradHalf angle beam divergence at 1/e^2 of maximum
Pulse length20 ns300 ns1000 ns
Heatsink cooling capacity25 W35 W65 W

The beam divergence of these lasers is much reduced in the horizontal axis compared to standard high power or low power
nulldevices. This is due to the unique large width of the active region of the gain-guided laser technology. Typical beam shapes are shown in the picture  to the right. Encapsulation in a collimated HHL housing is possible with an elliptical beam output. Other wavelengths are also available with lower power, please write to us with any enquiry.

Click to enlarge

PWest 2017


Come and meet us at booth #327 at the SPIE Defense and Commercial Sensing (DCS 2017) exhibition from April 11th to 13th!


Alpes Lasers announces its collaboration in the WaterSpy partnership
 which aims at  developing water quality analysis photonics technology suitable for inline, field measurements, as well as in the SILMARILS project to develop a standoff illuminatorfor measuring absorbance and reflectance infrared light signatures.

External Cavity 

Alpes Lasers introduces a new External Cavity Laser Kit (ECLK)  designed for single-mode operation with wide spectral tunability.
 The ECLK consists of a quantum cascade laser (QCL) gain chip, a grating-tuned extended optical cavity in Littrow configuration, laser drive electronics, an Alpes Lasers TC-3 temperature controller, and a graphical user interface software. 


The ECLK is compatible with the Alpes Lasers line of Broad Gain QCLs which tune over up to 25% of their center wavelength. The laser is driven by an integrated Alpes Lasers S-2 pulsed driver. The graphical user interface allows for automatic wavelength tuning. The kit is delivered pre-aligned and ready to use.

QCL for breath analysis

In this paper published recently in the Photonics journal, quantum cascade lasers from Alpes Lasers are used in a new method to measure liver function in patients by analyzing their breath in real time
, allowing a reduction of mortality rates by more than 70% in laser resections.

You can find more information about Alpes’ new QC-ET and QC-XT nullextended tuning QCL products by reading these papers published in November 2015:

New Address


Alpes Lasers has a new adress! Our new offices are located in

Avenue des Pâquiers 1, 2072 St-Blaise, Switzerland

Be sure to update your files.

TO3 CW lasers

Lasers with low dissipation below 3W are available from Alpes Lasers at various wavelengths, including the important wavelengths of 7.8 μm (CH4 absorption), 5.25 μm (NO absorption), 4.6 μm (N2O absorption) and 4.3 μm (CO2 absorption).

In a recently published Optics Express article, the Alpes development team discusses the research that was required to develop such low-dissipation lasers, and in particular the optimization of facet reflectivity which allowed both low-dissipation and high-power lasers to be produced from the same underlying material.

At such low heat dissipation levels, even CW lasers operating at 100% null
duty cycle can be encapsulated in TO3 housings. These housings have a much smaller footprint than the LLH or HHL options, and can be especially useful for embedded devices, applications in harsh thermal environments or for applications where high electrical power is not readily available.TO3 housings are available with or without a collimating lens.

We present here two sample devices of CW lasers performance as  encapsulated in TO3-L housing. These devices operate at 4.3 μm or 7.8 μm. Other wavelengths are available on demand - contact us with any inquiry!

TO3-L-21 Datasheet
TO3-L-22 Datasheet

New wavelengths

New wavelengths are now available for the High Power QCL devices. Lasers with more than 1W of average power are now available from stock at the following central wavelengths:

  • 4.55 microns
  • 4.65 microns
  • 4.90 microns


Other wavelengths are also available with lower power, please write to us with any enquiry.

Extended Tuning DFB Sources

Alpes Lasers introduces a new class of lasers: the QC-XT Laser SourcesQC-XT Lasers allow a very large tuning range of 2% of the central wavelength (40 cm-1 at 5 microns).

N2O Spectroscopy using a QC-XT laser

The system is controlled by three independent current inputs. Two inputs control the front and back mirrors of the cavity (IF and IB).The laser itself is driven by the laser current IL and behaves as anormal DFB laser with the available range modified by the values of IF and IB.

By using different mirror configurations, the laser can be rapidly switched between different configurations, allowing rapid multi-point sampling and/or scanning. 

Key Benefits:
  • Wavelength and power independent control
  • Direct access to any wavelength
  • Extended tuning range at constant heat-sink temperature
  • Increased wavelength scanning span fully electrically (Increased electrical wavelength scan)
  • Possibility of arbitrary scanning scheme
  • DFB wavelength reproducibility
  • DFB linewidth and noise


Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Faraday Rotation Spectroscopy

A Quantum Cascade Laser from Alpes Lasers is used to detect Nitric Oxide isotopes that play a role in the formation of the Ozone.  The Faraday Rotation Spectroscopy method is sensitive enough to detect gases to the degree of parts-per-billion (0.53ppbv/Hz^1/2 for 15NO).


In addition to monitoring pollution levels, this technique can be used to detect minute quantities of NO molecules in breath, urine, and blood.  NO is an important cellular signaling molecule that is involved in many physiological and pathological processes.

Recently, Alpes Lasers has partnered with the PULSE Lab of Princeton University through the MIRTHE Collaboration.  In a recent study by the PULSE Lab, Alpes Lasers was distinguished for providing the Quantum Cascade Laser for their study.  In their study PULSE Lab praises the Quantum Cascade Laser for providing “ record sensitivity in its class.” (Article published in Nature by PULSE Lab)


Wang, Y. et al. Shot-noise Limited Faraday Rotation Spectroscopy for nullDetection of Nitric Oxide Isotopes in Breath, Urine, and Blood. Sci. Rep. 5 , 9096; DOI:10.1038/srep09096 (2015).

Two New Product Lines

Alpes Lasers SA introduces two new product lines to its line-up of Quantum Cascade Lasers. Both are available in High Heat Load housing with collimated output and can be included with drivers for optimal usage.


The HP-QCL High Power Sources has a minimum average power of 1 W and more than 9 W of peak power with a multi-mode spectral output. Devices centered around 2040 cm−1 (4.9 μm) are available in stock and other wavelengths on demand. The dedicated driver for these high power lasers can be programmed internally or externally controlled through TTL signals with arbitrary pulse sequences.

These lasers can be used for free-space optical communications, energy deposition, illumination and IR countermeasures.

The QC-ET Extended Tuning Quantum Cascade Lasers features an  increased wavelength scanning span through fully electrical control at constant heat sink temperatures, allowing wavelength ramps and dither over a range of more than 0.4% of the central wavelength (6 cm−1 at  1270 cm−1). Such an extended tuning range can be used for fast wide scanning and multi-species gas monitoring.

More details on all these products can be read on the news to the right on your screen!

Come meet us and see out new products at Booth #1010 at the Photonics West 2015 Exhibition from Feb. 10th to Feb. 12th!

Extended Tuning DFB Sources

Alpes Lasers introduces a new class of Extended Tuning DFB-QCL, the QC-ET. The QC-ET uses a dual current control to extend the mode-hop free tuning to more than 0.4% of the central wavelength (>6 cm-1 at 1270 cm-1). While the first laser input allows direct intensity modulation in the same way as standard DFB lasers, the integrated heater current IT will offset the wavelength much faster than the temperature change of the heatsink temperature would do.

Key Benefits:null
  • Increased wavelength scanning span fully electrically
    (Increased electrical wavelength scan)
  • Wavelength dither and ramps as in conventional DFB
  • DFB wavelength reproducibility
  • DFB quality linewidth and noise

Click to enlarge

nullCome to see us at Booth #1010 at Photonics West to learn more!

High Power Sources

Alpes Lasers introduces its new High Power Sources. These Quantum Cascade Lasers have a minimum average power of 1W and more than 9W of peak power. They are available in a collimated HHL package with a dedicated driver, these lasers can be used for free-space optical communications, energy deposition, illumination and IR countermeasures.

Key Features:null
  • High Power
  • Collimated Source
  • High Beam Quality
  • Multi-Mode Spectrum

Click to enlarge


Come to see us at Booth #1010 at Photonics West to learn more!

All-Electrical Frequency Noise Reduction

A new paper published jointly by Alpes Lasers and the Laboratoire Temps-Fréquence of the University of Neuchâtel describes an all-electrical method of reducing the frequency noise and effective linewidth of Quantum Cascade Lasers.


The results from the experiment show a reduction in the linewidth from 1.7 MHz in the standard constant current mode of operation down to 480 kHz at 10-ms without recourse to a calibrated gas cell.

Intermittent CW Driver

The ICW driver is dedicated to the usage of a QCL laser.  Using the ICW modulation scheme allows one to perform spectroscopy with slow detectors while using lasers at low duty cycle.


This scheme can be implemented with the new ICW driver because it was developed specifically for this application. This new ICW driver is now available for loan or purchase.

This scheme was developped in collaboration with the Air Pollution /  Environmental Technology group of EMPA. More information and details can be found in the paper published here.

Recent applications of QCLs

We present two recent new applications of Quantum Cascade Lasers that have been recently published.

nullIn the first application was published in Nature Communications.  A team from ETH Zürich has used two AL broad gains lasers in frequency comb operation to perform dual-comb spectroscopy in the mid-infrared.
They achieve broadband high-resolution (80 MHz) absorption spectroscopy.

Villares, G. et al.,Dual-comb spectroscopy based on quantum-cascade-laser frequency combs. Nat. Commun. 5:5192 doi: 10.1038/ncomms6192 (2014)

In the second experiment, which has been discussed in Laser Focus nullWorld, researchers from Stanford University have incorporated a QCL into a cavity-enhanced absorption spectroscopy instrument in order to detect  carbon monoxide (CO) in situ in a shock tube with high time resolution.

K. Sun et al., Opt. Exp., 6 October 2014; doi:10.1364/OE.22.024559.

A similar shock tube experiment has also been performed by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology:

Robin S.M. Chrystie, Ehson F. Nasir, and Aamir Farooq, "Ultra-fast and calibration-free temperature sensing in the intrapulse mode", Optics Letters, 39(23), 6620-6623, (2014).

All these experiments have been performed with lasers from Alpes Lasers. Order one and see for yourself!

Laser Safety

Alpes now offers laser safety goggles with 7+ OD protection in the mid-IR.null

Intermittent CW Modulation


A new modulation scheme was  developed in a collaboration between Alpes Lasers and Air Pollution /  Environmental Technology group of EMPA.
The ICW scheme allows spectroscopy to be performed with slow detectors and drivers while using lasers in TO-3 cans. This method is less expensive than the LLH and HHL options for housing of true CW lasers. You can find more information in our section on modulation schemes, or in the paper recently published by Optics Express.


Alpes Lasers celebrated the 20th year of the Quantum Cascade Laser on January 16th and 17th 2014 in ETH Zürich!  The following is a short video demonstration that showcases what happens optically, electronically and thermallz in a Quantum Cascade Laser when under increasing bias.


Alpes Lasers welcomes students for internships! If you are interested in an internship, contact us with your CV, a letter of motivation explaining your domain of research, why you think Alpes Lasers would be a good fit, your career intentions, your current affilitiation as well as all relevant details (such as the name of your supervisor and what your university would expect from Alpes Lasers SA).


New Lasers Around 4.6 um

Alpes Lasers has recently produced a new series of lasers covering the range 2194-2236 cm-1 (4.47-4.56 um). This range is particularly useful for the detection of pollutants in atmosphere such as N2O and CO. The lasers functioning in this range at higher temperature and with higher output power will appear on the website over the coming weeks.
Here is a recent sampler of new lasers in stock:

Link to datasheetMinimum frequencyMaximum frequency

As always, you can request a quote for any of these lasers by contacting your country’s distributor or by writing directly to us if you are outside of our distributor network.

Quantum Cascade Lasers for Infrared Spectroscopy

Spectroscopy Magazine has interview Bernhard Lendl, professor of analytical chemistry at the Institute of Chemical Technologies and Analytics at the Vienna University of Technology, and his graduate student Markus Brandstetter on Quantum Cascade Lasers.  They identify some of the many advantages of the Quantum Cascade Laser to be practical in blood analysis, contamination monitoring for the pharmaceutical industry, and the hydrocarbon analysis pioneered by Quantared GmbHYou can read the article on the Spectroscopy Magazine website:

Laser World 

Alpes Lasers will be presenting at Laser World of Photonics trade fair in the Messe München from May 14th to May 16th. Come see us in Hall B2, stand 175 with our distributor, MG Optical Solutions.

Liver Function Monitor

Humedics GmbH recently announced the start of the clinical Phase III trial for its LiMAX test.

The LiMAX test determines the actual liver function in real-time by analyzing the patients breath using the FLIP device, which incorporates Alpes Lasers products.

 Using the LiMAX allows the clinician to determine the functioning capacity a patient’s liver within minutes, improving diagnosis, surgery planning and post-operative assessment. As of now the LiMAx test has been used more than 8,500 times and the results have been published in highly respected scientific journals.
You can read the press release from Humedics:

Humedics Press Release

Laser World China

Alpes Lasers will be presenting at Laser World of Photonics China in the Shanghai New International Expo Center (SNIEC) from March 19th to March 21st. Come see us at our distributor’s booth, Universal (HK) Technology Co. Ltd.

Quantum Cascade Lasers In The News

null Dr Damien Weidmann’s team from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in England recently announced the development of a new device that uses Quantum Cascade Lasers, supplied by Alpes Lasers, to detect counterfeit food.

Counterfeit food is a big problem that has become an important issue recently due to rising concerns of counterfeit meat in Europe. One  example in particular is that of honey. It is estimated that as much as one third of all the honey sold in the United States is smuggled and fraudulently labeled.  These fraudulently labeled products are either claiming that the products are  produced locally when it originates from a foreign country or even sometimes contain other sugars such as corn syrup.  The device developed by RAL can identify the provenance and nature of food by analyzing the isotopic content of the food thus preventing fraud.

The original announcement can be seen here.

Additional articles by the media can be found here, here and here.

Finally, some information about honey counterfeiting can be found here.

Photonics West 2013


Alpes Lasers will present at the Photonics West 2013 conference and exhibition that will be taking placeat the Moscone Center in San Francisco from February 2nd-7th .

  • Alpes Production Manager, Dr Stéphane Blaser, will give a talk entitled "Quantum cascade lasers optimized for low dissipation and broadgain" in the Mid-IR QCL session at 4:25 PM on Sunday Feb. 3rd in room 122.
  • Alpes CEO, Dr Antoine Müller, will be presenting on the exhibition floor in booth #817 that we will be shared with our American distributor, Boston Electronics.

Mid-infrared Frequency Comb

nullAndreas Hugi , a doctoral student at the Quantum Electronics Group of the ETHZ in Zürich, recently published a Nature Letter titled "Mid-infrared frequency comb based on a quantum cascade laser" in collaboration with Alpes Lasers.

Optical frequency combs, which act as rulers in the frequency domain, can be used to build spectrometers with unprecedented speed and precision. Using QCLs a direct, compact and electrically driven frequency comb generation scheme is developed. The measured linewidth of the comb lines is <1.3 MHz. The comb spans a spectral range of 60 cm-1 centered at a wave wavelength of 7 micron . A narrow intermode beat linewidth < 200 Hz is measured.

You can find more information with these links:

New Website

nullWelcome to Alpes Lasers’ NEW website! Be sure to visit the main pages.

If you have any trouble finding laser datasheets, please note that you can still see them at the old adress:


This page will be updated from time to time with special offer, new products or new applications notes.

Do not hesitate to contact us or the distributor from your region for any question or for a RFQ.

New Temperature Controller

Alpes Lasers introduces its new TC-3 temperature controller which replaced the TCU unit.

Based on a design by Arroyo, the new TC-3 has many advantages: It is user-controlled, can be re-programmed to be used with any of Alpes housings (or other devices) and with an LCD front panel and USB connector making it easier to use and integrate. All of the new temperature controllers shipped starting today will be TC-3 with complete backwards compatibility.

IRMMW 2012-THz at Wollongong

Alpes Lasers will be presenting on the exhibition floor of the International Conference on Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves (IRMMW-THz)
 in Wollongong, Australia, from September 23rd to 28th. This presentation is in collaboration with the TREASURE Project.

This is Alpes Lasers first ever presentation in Australia!

Alpes at IQCLSW 2012

You can meet with Alpes Lasers at the International Quantum Cascade Lasers School and Workshop 2012 held in Baden near Vienna, Austria from September 2nd to September 6th.

Alpes Lasers sponsors the Best Paper Award. In addition you can meet our distributor for Germany and Austria MG Optical Solutions in the exhibition room.  You may also attend Romain Terazzi’s lecture titled "Frequency-dependence of the effective refractive index in broadband quantum cascade lasers" at 8:50 on September 6th.

QuantaRed Wins Mercur Preis 2010

The Chamber of Commerce of Vienna has awarded the Mercury Prize for most innovative young entrepreneur of 2010.

QuantaRed was awarded this honor in 2010 for its use of a QC lasers from Alpes Lasers to create a new cutting-edge measurement method that succeeded in quickly and accurately measuring the oil composition in water without the use of any CFC gas. This is used primarily for the analysis of oil content in production and measure waste levels in water from oil platforms in order to analyze the impact of oil spills.

Some links:

http://www.mercur2010.at/ (in German)

Industry Perspective

Nature Photonics published an "Industry Perspective" paper on the current status and future prospects of Quantum Cascade Lasers written by Antoine Müller, CEO of Alpes Lasers and Pr. Jérome Faist, Alpes Lasers co-founder.

You can read the abstract:

"Since their invention, quantum cascade lasers have made considerable progress in terms of their wavelength range and efficiency. Today, they have important applications in environmental science, process control and medical diagnostics."

The whole article can be found in the May 2010 issue of Nature Photonics.

Nature Photonics 4, 291 (2010) "The quantum cascade laser: Ready for take-off"

Broadband Lasers

Be sure to have a look at our list of broadband lasers, available for broadband illumination for use in external cavities from 6 to 12 microns!