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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 15, Iss. 11 — May. 28, 2007
  • pp: 6623–6628
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A passively-modelocked, Yb-doped, figure-eight, fiber laser utilizing anomalous-dispersion higher-order-mode fiber

J. W. Nicholson, S. Ramachandran, and S. Ghalmi  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Express, Vol. 15, Issue 11, pp. 6623-6628 (2007)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.15.006623


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Abstract

Modelocking in an Yb-doped figure-eight fiber laser is demonstrated utilizing anomalous dispersion from an LP02 higher-order-mode fiber for dispersion management. Outside the laser cavity, the pulses were re-compressed to 95 fs using a second HOM module, the shortest demonstrated pulses to date from an Yb-doped figure-eight fiber laser. Operation of the laser with HOM fiber in the cavity is compared to an Yb figure-eight laser that utilizes all-normal dispersion fibers.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

1. Introduction

Passively-modelocked, Yb-doped fiber lasers are reliable sources of ultrashort pulses in the 1 μm wavelength region. At these short wavelengths one of the difficulties lies in finding fibers with anomalous dispersion to compensate the normal dispersion of standard single mode fibers (SMF) and create dispersion managed laser cavities. Dispersion management of fiber laser cavities is desirable as proper dispersion compensation produces the broadest modelocked spectra and shortest pulses [1

1. M. L. Dennis and I. N. Duling, “Exerimental study of sideband generation in Femtosecond Fiber Lasers,” IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 30, 1469–1477 (1994). [CrossRef]

]. Photonic crystal fibers and photonic bandgap fibers with anomalous dispersion have been utilized for dispersion compensation in nonlinear polarization evolution ring lasers [2

2. H. Lim, F. Ö. Ilday, and F. W. Wise, “Femtosecond Ytterbium Fiber Laser with Photonic Crystal Fiber for dispersion control,” Opt. Express 10, 1497–1502 (2002). [PubMed]

,3

3. H. Lim and F. W. Wise, “Control of dispersion in a Femtosecond Ytterbium Laser by use of Hollow-Core Photonic Bandgap Fiber,” Opt. Express 12, 2231–2235 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. However, to date, only relatively long (850 fs) pulses have been demonstrated from an Yb-doped figure eight laser [4

4. A. V. Avdokhin, S. V. Popov, and J. R. Taylor, “Totally fiber integrated, figure-of-eight femtosecond source at 1065 Nm,” Opt. Express 11, 265–269 (2003). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. In contrast to lasers based on nonlinear polarization evolution, figure-eight lasers do not inherently depend on polarization rotation for mode-locking. Therefore, they have the advantage of being compatible with an environmentally stable, polarization maintaining configuration [5

5. J. W. Nicholson and M. Andrejco, “A polarization maintaining, dispersion managed, femtosecond figure-eight fiber laser,” Opt. Express 14, 8160–8167 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

].

Fig. 1. (a). Measured transmission loss of an HOM module (schematic of module in inset). (b) Measured dispersion of the HOM compared to dispersion in a conventional SMF.

Recently, anomalous dispersion at wavelengths shorter than the zero dispersion wavelength of silica was demonstrated in a specially designed fiber in which light propagated in a single higher-order mode (HOM) [6

6. S. Ramachandran, S. Ghalmi, J. W. Nicholson, M. F. Yan, P. Wisk, E. Monberg, and F. V. Dimarcello, “Anomalous dispersion in a solid, silica-based fiber,” Opt. Lett. 31, 2532–2534 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. Light was coupled into and out of the HOM with the use of UV written, broadband, long period gratings (LPG). In this work, we demonstrate an Yb-doped figure-eight fiber laser producing 95 fs pulses, that utilizes the HOM fiber for dispersion compensation. To the best of our knowledge, these pulses are the shortest produced to date in an Yb-doped figure-eight laser.

2. Experiment

Details of the higher order mode module are shown in the inset of Fig. 1(a). Long period gratings are used to couple into and out of the LP02 mode of the fiber from the LP01 mode. The measured transmission spectrum, plotted in Fig. 1(a), had a 1-dB bandwidth of 51 nm. Typical module insertion loss was < 0.5 dB, including the splice loss between the HOM fiber and SMF pigtails. The dispersion of the fiber, plotted in Fig. 1(b), was measured using spectral interferometery. The LP02 mode of this fiber had an anomalous disperison paramater of +60 ps/nm-km at 1080 nm, compared to the normal dispersion of standard SMF at these wavelengths.

A schematic of the figure-eight laser is shown in Fig. 2. Two 975-nm diode lasers were used to bi-directionally pump an 82-cm length of Yb-doped fiber. Total launched pump power was a maximum of 400 mW. A 50/50 splitter coupled the nonlinear amplifying loop to a unidirectional loop that contained a 50/50 splitter as an outcoupler, an isolator and the HOM module for dispersion compensation. A polarization controller was placed in each loop to control the polarization state and initiate modelocking. For appropriate settings of the polarization controllers, self-starting modelocking was observed.

Typical spectra corresponding to different states of operation are plotted in Fig. 3(a). Depending on the relative lengths of the SMF compared to the HOM fiber in the cavity, as well as the alignment of the polarization controllers, the laser operated in a wide variety of regimes typical of passively modelocked fiber lasers. With short lengths of SMF in the cavity the laser operated with soliton pulses, typified by the sidebands visible in the pulse sectrum. When the length of normal dispersion SMF in the cavity was increased the laser operated with a spectrum with steep sides, similar to spectra of recently published fiber lasers with all normal dispersion fiber [7

7. A. Chong, J. Buckley, W. Renninger, and F. Wise, “All normal-dispersion femtosecond fiber laser,” Opt. Express 14, 10,095–10,100 (2006). [CrossRef]

, 8

8. L. M. Zhao, D. Y. Tang, and J. Wu, “Gain-guided soliton in a positive group-dispersion fiber laser,” Opt. Lett. 31, 1788–1790 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. In addition, the laser could operate with noise-like pulses [9

9. M. Horowitz, Y. Barad, and Y. Silberberg, “Noiselike pulses with a broadband spectrum generated from an Erbium-doped fiber laser,” Optics Letters 22, 799–801 (1997). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

], characterized by very broad spectra and corresponding strong amplitude and phase noise on the pulse train as measured with an oscilloscope, electrical spectrum analyzer and autocorrelator. The mode of operation was switched between noise-like operation and clean modelocked pulse train with manipulation of the polarization controllers.

Fig. 2. Schematic of the Yb-doped figure-eight fiber laser.
Fig. 3. (a). Spectral shapes observed in the modelocked, figure-eight Yb-doped fiber laser (b) Measured 10 dB spectral with as a function of cavity repetition frequency as the amount of normal dispersion fiber in the cavity was adjusted.

The 10 dB spectral width of the modelocked laser is shown in Fig. 3(b) as a function of the repetition frequency (length of SMF) in the laser cavity. Noise-like spectra are plotted with open circles, and clean modelocked spectra with solid squares. The broadest spectrum was measured at a repetition frequency of approximately 18.3 MHz, corresponding to a laser cavity with 0.82 cm of Yb fiber, 2 m of HOM fiber, and approximately 8.5 m single-mode fiber. The net dispersion parameter of the cavity for the broadest measured, clean modelocked spectrum was D = -.23ps/nm (β 2 = +0.14ps2). While the shortest pulses in passively modelocked fiber lasers typically occur for small values of residual normal cavity dispersion, this value is somewhat higher than reported for other lasers. The reason for this is not fully understand, but may have to do with spectral filtering by intracavity components. Spectral filtering has be recently shown to stabilize modelocking in fiber laser cavities for large amounts of normal dispersion [7

7. A. Chong, J. Buckley, W. Renninger, and F. Wise, “All normal-dispersion femtosecond fiber laser,” Opt. Express 14, 10,095–10,100 (2006). [CrossRef]

]. We are currently develop a nonlinear Scrhödinger equation based model of the laser cavitys to better understand this effect in our setup.

Fig. 4. Soliton bunching, measured with a high speed (30 ps) detector and sampling oscilloscope. The corresponding spectrum is similar to the soliton spectrum shown in Fig. 3(a)

In order to better quantify the effect of the HOM module’s dispersion on the laser operation, the HOM module was removed from the cavity. In this setup, all the fibers in the laser had normal dispersion. Recent results have shown modelocking in all-normal dispersion fiber ring lasers [7

7. A. Chong, J. Buckley, W. Renninger, and F. Wise, “All normal-dispersion femtosecond fiber laser,” Opt. Express 14, 10,095–10,100 (2006). [CrossRef]

,8

8. L. M. Zhao, D. Y. Tang, and J. Wu, “Gain-guided soliton in a positive group-dispersion fiber laser,” Opt. Lett. 31, 1788–1790 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. We observed modelocking in the figure eight fiber laser with similar characteristics as the previously reported recently in a Yb ring laser with all normal dispersion fiber. [7

7. A. Chong, J. Buckley, W. Renninger, and F. Wise, “All normal-dispersion femtosecond fiber laser,” Opt. Express 14, 10,095–10,100 (2006). [CrossRef]

]. Specifically, the modelocked spectrum shown in Fig. 5(a) displays steep sides with sharp peaks at the edges at the edges. The spectrum without the HOM in the cavity had a 10-dB width of 13.1 nm.

At the maximum pump power with all normal dispersion fiber, the laser continued to operate with a single pulse in the cavity. The average output power was 50 mW and pulse repetition frequency was 33 MHz, corresponding to 1.5 nJ pulses. The output pulse autocorrelation, shown in Fig. 6(a), had a FWHM of 10 ps, whereas the bandwidth limited pulses for the spectrum shown in Fig. 5(a) is 240 fs. Therefore the output pulses were more than 20 times the bandwidth limit and highly chirped. Again, this result is consistent with reports of all normal dispersion lasers and similariton lasers, that operate with highly stretched pulses in the cavity that are many times the bandwidth limit. We have not attempted to compress these pulses outside the laser cavity at this time.

The broadest measured spectrum occurred with the HOM in the cavity, shown in Fig. 5(a) and had a 10-dB width of 44 nm. The corresponding pulse train is shown in Fig. 5(b). The output pulses were then propagated through a second HOM module in order to re-compress them. The length and dispersion of the second HOM used outside the cavity were approximately the same as the module used inside the laser cavity. Note that the autocorrelation was measured after the pulses had propagated through the HOM module and had been converted back to the LP01 mode. The amount of normal dispersion fiber between the laser cavity and the second HOM module was cut back and the correlation was measured. The bandwidth limited pulses of the spectrum in Fig. 5(a) have a FWHM of 72 fs; the shortest measured correlation had a FWHM of 137 fs, corresponding to 95 fs pulse width, assuming a Gaussian pulse shape. The pump power was reduced and the pulse train was monitored with a long range autocorrelator, a fast sampling scope, and an electrical spectrum analyzer to ensure single-pulse operation with the HOM in the cavity. For single pulse operation, the average power was limited to a maximum of approximately 2 mW.

Fig. 5. (a). Broadest modelocked spectrum of the figure eight laser with and without the HOM in the laser cavity. (b). Pulse train measured with the HOM fiber in the laser.
Fig. 6. (a). Autocorrelation of the stretched pulse from the all-normal dispersion laser cavity. (b) Autocorrelation of the compressed pulse with the HOM module in the cavity. The correlation was measured after the second extra-cavity HOM module that was used for chirp removal. Note the difference in time scales between (a) and (b).

3. Conclusions

In conclusion we have demonstrated a passively-modelocked, Yb-doped, figure-eight, fiber laser operating at 1080 nm using a higher-order-mode fiber for intracavity dispersion compensation. Although operating with the LP02 mode in the higher order mode fiber, the laser displayed typical features reported in lasers based on all single mode fiber, such as soliton bunches. We also reported modelocking without the HOM module in the cavity and all normal dispersion fibers. In this configuration the laser operated with highly stretched pulses with pulse energies of 1.5 nJ, 50 mW average power, and 33 MHz repetition frequency. In contrast the laser with the HOM for dispersion compensation operated with single pulse operation with 0.1 nJ pulse energy, 2 mW average power and a 10-dB spectral width of greater than 40 nm, more than 3 times as broad as the spectrum from the all-normal-dispersion-fiber laser. The pulses were compressed using a second HOM module outside the laser to 95 fs, the shortest pulses demonstrated to date for an Yb-doped figure-eight fiber laser operating at 1 micron.

References and links

1.

M. L. Dennis and I. N. Duling, “Exerimental study of sideband generation in Femtosecond Fiber Lasers,” IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 30, 1469–1477 (1994). [CrossRef]

2.

H. Lim, F. Ö. Ilday, and F. W. Wise, “Femtosecond Ytterbium Fiber Laser with Photonic Crystal Fiber for dispersion control,” Opt. Express 10, 1497–1502 (2002). [PubMed]

3.

H. Lim and F. W. Wise, “Control of dispersion in a Femtosecond Ytterbium Laser by use of Hollow-Core Photonic Bandgap Fiber,” Opt. Express 12, 2231–2235 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

4.

A. V. Avdokhin, S. V. Popov, and J. R. Taylor, “Totally fiber integrated, figure-of-eight femtosecond source at 1065 Nm,” Opt. Express 11, 265–269 (2003). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

5.

J. W. Nicholson and M. Andrejco, “A polarization maintaining, dispersion managed, femtosecond figure-eight fiber laser,” Opt. Express 14, 8160–8167 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

6.

S. Ramachandran, S. Ghalmi, J. W. Nicholson, M. F. Yan, P. Wisk, E. Monberg, and F. V. Dimarcello, “Anomalous dispersion in a solid, silica-based fiber,” Opt. Lett. 31, 2532–2534 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

7.

A. Chong, J. Buckley, W. Renninger, and F. Wise, “All normal-dispersion femtosecond fiber laser,” Opt. Express 14, 10,095–10,100 (2006). [CrossRef]

8.

L. M. Zhao, D. Y. Tang, and J. Wu, “Gain-guided soliton in a positive group-dispersion fiber laser,” Opt. Lett. 31, 1788–1790 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

9.

M. Horowitz, Y. Barad, and Y. Silberberg, “Noiselike pulses with a broadband spectrum generated from an Erbium-doped fiber laser,” Optics Letters 22, 799–801 (1997). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

10.

D. J. Richardson, R. I. Laming, D. N. Payne, V. J. Matsas, and M. W. Phillips, “Pulse repetition rates in passive, selfstarting, femtosecond soliton fibre laser,” Electron. Lett. 27, 1451–1453 (1991). [CrossRef]

11.

P. Grelu, F. Belhache, F. Gutty, and J. M. Soto-Crespo, “Relative phase locking of pulses in a passively mode-locked fiber laser,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 20, 863–870 (2003). [CrossRef]

OCIS Codes
(060.2320) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber optics amplifiers and oscillators
(320.7090) Ultrafast optics : Ultrafast lasers

ToC Category:
Fiber Optics and Optical Communications

History
Original Manuscript: March 5, 2007
Revised Manuscript: April 9, 2007
Manuscript Accepted: April 10, 2007
Published: May 15, 2007

Citation
J. W. Nicholson, S. Ramachandran, and S. Ghalmi, "A passively-modelocked, Yb-doped, figure-eight, fiber laser utilizing anomalous-dispersion higher-order-mode fiber," Opt. Express 15, 6623-6628 (2007)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-15-11-6623


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References

  1. M. L. Dennis and I. N. Duling, "Exerimental study of sideband generation in Femtosecond Fiber Lasers," IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 30, 1469-1477 (1994). [CrossRef]
  2. H. Lim, F. ¨O. Ilday, and F. W. Wise, "Femtosecond Ytterbium Fiber Laser with Photonic Crystal Fiber for dispersion control," Opt. Express 10, 1497-1502 (2002). [PubMed]
  3. H. Lim and F. W. Wise, "Control of dispersion in a Femtosecond Ytterbium Laser by use of Hollow-Core Photonic Bandgap Fiber," Opt. Express 12, 2231-2235 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. A. V. Avdokhin, S. V. Popov, and J. R. Taylor, "Totally fiber integrated, figure-of-eight femtosecond source at 1065 Nm," Opt. Express 11, 265-269 (2003). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. J. W. Nicholson and M. Andrejco, "A polarization maintaining, dispersion managed, femtosecond figure-eight fiber laser," Opt. Express 14, 8160-8167 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. S. Ramachandran, S. Ghalmi, J. W. Nicholson, M. F. Yan, P. Wisk, E. Monberg, and F. V. Dimarcello, "Anomalous dispersion in a solid, silica-based fiber," Opt. Lett. 31, 2532-2534 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  7. A. Chong, J. Buckley, W. Renninger, and F. Wise, "All normal-dispersion femtosecond fiber laser," Opt. Express 14, 10,095-10,100 (2006). [CrossRef]
  8. L. M. Zhao, D. Y. Tang, and J. Wu, "Gain-guided soliton in a positive group-dispersion fiber laser," Opt. Lett. 31, 1788-1790 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  9. M. Horowitz, Y. Barad, and Y. Silberberg, "Noiselike pulses with a broadband spectrum generated from an Erbium-doped fiber laser," Opt. Lett. 22, 799-801 (1997). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  10. D. J. Richardson, R. I. Laming, D. N. Payne, V. J. Matsas, and M. W. Phillips, "Pulse repetition rates in passive, selfstarting, femtosecond soliton fibre laser," Electron. Lett. 27, 1451-1453 (1991). [CrossRef]
  11. P. Grelu, F. Belhache, F. Gutty, and J. M. Soto-Crespo, "Relative phase locking of pulses in a passively modelocked fiber laser," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 20, 863-870 (2003). [CrossRef]

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