The dynamic spectral properties of semiconductor lasers during its tuning are very important for frequency modulation-based applications. The spectral properties of a distributed feedback (DFB) interband cascade laser (ICL) under injection current tuning (i.e., slope efficiency, dynamic tuning rate, and instantaneous linewidth) were measured by using short delayed self-heterodyne interferometry combined with time-frequency analysis of the interferometric signal. The relations of these spectral characteristics with the injection current, tuning frequency, and operating temperature of the laser were investigated as well. The dynamic tuning rate of the laser varies from 0.07 nm/mA to 0.16 nm/mA depending on the injection current and tuning frequency, which is considerably below the static tuning rate 0.20 nm/mA. The laser instantaneous linewidth increases within 360 kHz to 760 kHz as the injection current increases or the tuning frequency increases. Unexpectedly, both the dynamic tuning rate and linewidth seem not to be related to the operating temperature of the laser. These results will be very useful for understanding the spectral properties and optimizing the frequency modulation of DFB-ICLs.

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