OSA's Digital Library

Journal of the Optical Society of America B

Journal of the Optical Society of America B


  • Editor: G. I. Stegeman
  • Vol. 23, Iss. 4 — Apr. 1, 2006
  • pp: 652–662

Theory of Q switching in actively mode-locked lasers

Joshua L. Proctor and J. Nathan Kutz  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA B, Vol. 23, Issue 4, pp. 652-662 (2006)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (253 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



An analytic theory is proposed that characterizes Q switching in an active mode-locked cavity as the nonlinear interaction of two unstable modes: one symmetric, another antisymmetric. The phase difference between these modes generates a nonlinear beating interaction that gives rise to quasi-periodic behavior in the laser cavity. This quasi-periodic behavior is responsible for the Q-switching phenomenon and is controlled by the interaction and overlap between neighboring pulses. With a linear stability analysis, a simple qualitative description of the Q-switching phenomenon is given that is verified with numerical simulations of the governing active mode-locked equations. This model characterizes the Q switching as a function of the physical parameters of the laser cavity and elucidates the mechanisms for controlling its behavior.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(140.3540) Lasers and laser optics : Lasers, Q-switched
(140.4050) Lasers and laser optics : Mode-locked lasers
(190.5530) Nonlinear optics : Pulse propagation and temporal solitons

ToC Category:
Lasers and Laser Optics

Original Manuscript: March 17, 2005
Revised Manuscript: July 29, 2005
Manuscript Accepted: October 6, 2005

Joshua L. Proctor and J. Nathan Kutz, "Theory of Q switching in actively mode-locked lasers," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 23, 652-662 (2006)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. H. A. Haus, "Parameter ranges for CW passive mode locking," IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 12, 169-176 (1976). [CrossRef]
  2. F. X. Kärtner, L. Brovelli, D. Kopf, M. Kamp, I. Calasso, and U. Keller, "Control of solid state laser dynamics of semiconductor devices," Opt. Eng. (Bellingham) 34, 2024-2036 (1995). [CrossRef]
  3. C. Hönninger, P. Paschotta, F. Morier-Genoud, M. Moser, and U. Keller, "Q-switching stability limits of continuous-wave passive mode locking," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 16, 45-56 (1999). [CrossRef]
  4. H. A. Haus, E. P. Ippen, and K. Tamura, "Additive-pulse mode-locking in fiber lasers," IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 30, 200-208 (1994). [CrossRef]
  5. H. A. Haus, "Mode-locking of lasers," IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. 6, 1173-1185 (2000). [CrossRef]
  6. J. J. O'Neil, J. N. Kutz, and B. Sandstede, "Theory and simulation of the dynamics and stability of actively mode-locked lasers," IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 38, 1412-1419 (2002). [CrossRef]
  7. G. L. Eesley, "Generation of nonequilibrium electron and lattice temperature in copper by picosecond laser pulses," Phys. Rev. B 33, 2144-2151 (1986). [CrossRef]
  8. V. I. Klimov and D. W. McBranch, "Femtosecond high-sensitivity, chirp-free transient absorption spectroscopy using kilohertz lasers," Opt. Lett. 23, 277-279 (1998). [CrossRef]
  9. J. A. Squier, M. Müller, G. J. Brakenhoff, and K. R. Wilson, "Third harmonic generation microscopy," Opt. Express 3, 315-324 (1998). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  10. J.-M. Hopkins and W. Sibbett, "Utrashort-pulse lasers: big payoffs in a flash," Sci. Am. September 2000, pp. 73-79.
  11. G. A. Mourou and D. Umdstader, "Extreme light," Sci. Am. June 2002, pp. 63-68.
  12. L. da Silva, M. Perry, M. Feit, and B. Stuart, "The short-pulse laser: a safe, painless surgical tool," Sci. Technol. Rev. September 1995, pp. 29-31.
  13. H. A. Haus and W. S. Wong, "Solitons in optical communications," Rev. Mod. Phys. 68, 423-444 (1996). [CrossRef]
  14. K. Tamura, H. A. Haus, and E. P. Ippen, "Self-starting additive pulse mode-locked erbium fiber ring laser," Electron. Lett. 28, 2226-2228 (1992). [CrossRef]
  15. M. E. Fermann, M. J. Andrejco, Y. Silverberg, and M. L. Stock, "Passive mode locking by using nonlinear polarization evolution in a polarizing-maintaining erbium-doped fiber laser," Opt. Lett. 29, 447-449 (1993).
  16. D. Y. Tang, W. S. Man, and H. Y. Tam, "Stimulated soliton pulse formation and its mechanism in a passively mode-locked fibre soliton laser," Opt. Commun. 165, 189-194 (1999). [CrossRef]
  17. I. N. Duling III, "Subpicosecond all-fiber erbium laser," Electron. Lett. 27, 544-545 (1991). [CrossRef]
  18. D. J. Richardson, R. I. Laming, D. N. Payne, V. J. Matsas, and M. W. Phillips, "Self-starting, passively mode-locked erbium fiber laser based on the amplifying Sagnac switch," Electron. Lett. 27, 542-544 (1991). [CrossRef]
  19. M. L. Dennis and I. N. Duling III, "High repetition rate figure eight laser with extracavity feedback," Electron. Lett. 28, 1894-1896 (1992). [CrossRef]
  20. F. X. Kärtner and U. Keller, "Stabilization of solitonlike pulses with a slow saturable absorber," Opt. Lett. 20, 16-18 (1995). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  21. B. Collings, S. Tsuda, S. Cundiff, J. N. Kutz, M. Koch, W. Knox, and K. Bergman, "Short cavity erbium/ytterbium fiber lasers mode-locked with a saturable Bragg reflector," IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. 3, 1065-1075 (1997). [CrossRef]
  22. S. Tsuda, W. H. Knox, E. A. DeSouza, W. J. Jan, and J. E. Cunningham, "Low-loss intracavity AlAs/AlGaAs saturable Bragg reflector for femtosecond mode locking in solid-state lasers," Opt. Lett. 20, 1406-1408 (1995). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  23. F. X. Kärtner, D. Kopf, and U. Keller, "Solitary pulse stabilization and shortening in actively mode-locked lasers," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 12, 486-496 (1995). [CrossRef]
  24. H. A. Haus, "A theory of forced mode locking," IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 11, 323-330 (1975). [CrossRef]
  25. T. Kolokolnikov, T. Erneux, N. Joly, and S. Bielawski, "The Q-switching instability in passively mode-locked lasers," Physica D, submitted for publication.
  26. M.Abramowitz and I.A.Stegun, eds., Handbook of Mathematical Functions (National Bureau of Standards, Washington, D.C., 1964).
  27. J. M. Soto-Crespo, M. Grapinet, P. Grelu, and N. Akhmediev, "Bifurcations and multiple-period soliton pulsations in a passively mode-locked fiber laser," Phys. Rev. E 70, 066612 (2004). [CrossRef]
  28. P. G. Drazin, Nonlinear Systems (Cambridge u. Press, 1992).
  29. W. Magnus, Hill's Equation (Wiley, 1966).
  30. M. I. Weinstein, "Modulational stability of ground states of the nonlinear Schrödinger equations," SIAM J. Appl. Math. 16, 472-491 (1985). [CrossRef]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited