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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: Andrew M. Weiner
  • Vol. 22, Iss. 11 — Jun. 2, 2014
  • pp: 13244–13249
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Sub-130 fs mode-locked Er-doped fiber laser based on topological insulator

Jaroslaw Sotor, Grzegorz Sobon, and Krzysztof M. Abramski  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Express, Vol. 22, Issue 11, pp. 13244-13249 (2014)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.22.013244


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Abstract

In this work we present for the first time, to the best of our knowledge, a stretched-pulse mode-locked fiber laser based on topological insulator. As a saturable absorber (SA) a ~0.5 mm thick lump of antimony telluride (Sb2Te3) deposited on a side-polished fiber was used. Such a SA introduced 6% modulation depth with 43% of non-saturable losses, which is sufficient for supporting stretched-pulse mode-locking. The ring laser resonator based on Er-doped active fiber with managed intracavity dispersion was capable of generating ultrashort optical pulses with full width at half maximum (FWHM) of 30 nm centered at 1565 nm. The pulses with duration of 128 fs were repeated with a frequency of 22.32 MHz.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

1. Introduction

Laser sources generating ultrashort optical pulses are desired by variety of applications, like basic science, material processing and precise optical metrology. Most of such lasers are based on passive mode-locking mechanism which requires saturable absorbers (SA). The SA can be artificial, like in nonlinear polarization evolution mode-locking mechanism [1

1. M. E. Fermann, M. L. Stock, M. J. Andrejco, and Y. Silberberg, “Passive mode locking by using nonlinear polarization evolution in a polarization-maintaining erbium-doped fiber,” Opt. Lett. 18(11), 894–896 (1993). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

,2

2. M. Nikodem and K. M. Abramski, “169 MHz repetition frequency all-fiber passively mode-locked erbium doped fiber laser,” Opt. Commun. 283(1), 109–112 (2010). [CrossRef]

] or a real component, based on semiconductors (saturable absorber mirrors - SESAMs) [3

3. G. Steinmeyer, D. H. Sutter, L. Gallmann, N. Matuschek, and U. Keller, “Frontiers in Ultrashort Pulse Generation: Pushing the Limits in Linear and Nonlinear Optics,” Science 286(5444), 1507–1512 (1999). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

,4

4. U. Keller, “Recent developments in compact ultrafast lasers,” Nature 424(6950), 831–838 (2003). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

] and different kinds of nanomaterials like: carbon nanotubes [5

5. S. Yamashita, Y. Inoue, S. Maruyama, Y. Murakami, H. Yaguchi, M. Jablonski, and S. Y. Set, “Saturable absorbers incorporating carbon nanotubes directly synthesized onto substrates and fibers and their application to mode-locked fiber lasers,” Opt. Lett. 29(14), 1581–1583 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

7

7. T. Hasan, Z. Sun, F. Wang, F. Bonaccorso, P. H. Tan, A. G. Rozhin, and A. C. Ferrari, “Nanotube–Polymer Composites for Ultrafast Photonics,” Adv. Mater. 21(38-39), 3874–3899 (2009). [CrossRef]

], and graphene [7

7. T. Hasan, Z. Sun, F. Wang, F. Bonaccorso, P. H. Tan, A. G. Rozhin, and A. C. Ferrari, “Nanotube–Polymer Composites for Ultrafast Photonics,” Adv. Mater. 21(38-39), 3874–3899 (2009). [CrossRef]

19

19. N. Tolstik, E. Sorokin, and I. T. Sorokina, “Graphene mode-locked Cr:ZnS laser with 41 fs pulse duration,” Opt. Express 22(5), 5564–5571 (2014). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. The fast development of nanomaterials-based SAs is caused by some limitations of commonly used SESAMs. The relatively narrow operation bandwidth and complicated manufacturing technology of SESAMs cause that materials with almost wavelength independent absorption spectra are extensively developed. Graphene was the first of such nanomaterials widely used in mode-locked fiber [7

7. T. Hasan, Z. Sun, F. Wang, F. Bonaccorso, P. H. Tan, A. G. Rozhin, and A. C. Ferrari, “Nanotube–Polymer Composites for Ultrafast Photonics,” Adv. Mater. 21(38-39), 3874–3899 (2009). [CrossRef]

16

16. J. Sotor, G. Sobon, J. Tarka, I. Pasternak, A. Krajewska, W. Strupinski, and K. M. Abramski, “Passive synchronization of erbium and thulium doped fiber mode-locked lasers enhanced by common graphene saturable absorber,” Opt. Express 22(5), 5536–5543 (2014). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

] and bulk [17

17. I. H. Baek, H. W. Lee, S. Bae, B. H. Hong, Y. H. Ahn, D. I. Yeom, and F. Rotermund, “Efficient mode-locking of sub-70-fs Ti: sapphire laser by graphene saturable absorber,” Appl. Phys. Express 5(3), 032701 (2012). [CrossRef]

19

19. N. Tolstik, E. Sorokin, and I. T. Sorokina, “Graphene mode-locked Cr:ZnS laser with 41 fs pulse duration,” Opt. Express 22(5), 5564–5571 (2014). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

] lasers. It has been already used for ultrashort pulse generation in broad wavelength range, spanning from 800 nm [17

17. I. H. Baek, H. W. Lee, S. Bae, B. H. Hong, Y. H. Ahn, D. I. Yeom, and F. Rotermund, “Efficient mode-locking of sub-70-fs Ti: sapphire laser by graphene saturable absorber,” Appl. Phys. Express 5(3), 032701 (2012). [CrossRef]

] to 2500 nm [18

18. M. N. Cizmeciyan, J. W. Kim, S. Bae, B. H. Hong, F. Rotermund, and A. Sennaroglu, “Graphene mode-locked femtosecond Cr:ZnSe laser at 2500 nm,” Opt. Lett. 38(3), 341–343 (2013). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

,19

19. N. Tolstik, E. Sorokin, and I. T. Sorokina, “Graphene mode-locked Cr:ZnS laser with 41 fs pulse duration,” Opt. Express 22(5), 5564–5571 (2014). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

] and allows also to generate optical pulses at different wavelengths simultaneously [15

15. J. Sotor, G. Sobon, I. Pasternak, A. Krajewska, W. Strupinski, and K. M. Abramski, “Simultaneous mode-locking at 1565 nm and 1944 nm in fiber laser based on common graphene saturable absorber,” Opt. Express 21(16), 18994–19002 (2013). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

,16

16. J. Sotor, G. Sobon, J. Tarka, I. Pasternak, A. Krajewska, W. Strupinski, and K. M. Abramski, “Passive synchronization of erbium and thulium doped fiber mode-locked lasers enhanced by common graphene saturable absorber,” Opt. Express 22(5), 5536–5543 (2014). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

].

In this paper we present for the first time, to the best of our knowledge, a dispersion managed, stretched-pulse mode-locked fiber laser with a TI used as a SA. The Sb2Te3 SA was prepared by deposition of a bulk material on the side-polished fiber with the presence of low refractive index (RI) polymer. The interaction between the evanescent electromagnetic field leaking to the fiber clad with the TI surface results in absorption modulation of 6%. The linear absorption and non-saturable loses were of 50% and 43%, respectively. Such a prepared SA was spliced to the dispersion managed laser resonator based on Er-doped fiber. The ring laser generates Gaussian pulses centered at 1565 nm with FWHM of 30 nm and 128 fs duration. The average power and pulse energy of pulses repeated with frequency of 22.32 MHz were 1 mW and 44.8 pJ, respectively.

2. Preparation and characterization of the Sb2Te3-based saturable absorber

The SA was prepared by deposition of a bulk piece of commercially available Sb2Te3 material (Goodfellow) on the surface of a side-polished single-mode fiber with the presence of UV curable low-RI polymer. The surface of the selected flat lump of Sb2Te3 was cleaned through mechanical exfoliation process using scotch tape. The cleaning process was stopped when the lump surface was uniform in macroscopic scale. The thickness of the prepared Sb2Te3 lump was around 0.5 mm. Such a piece of Sb2Te3 was then pressed to the side-polished fiber (Phoenix Photonics). The polished region length and its distance to the fiber core were 17 mm and 1 µm, respectively. Before the topological insulator lump was finally positioned onto the polished region, the fiber was spliced into an all-anomalous dispersion laser, which easily supported soliton mode-locking. During laser operation, the position of the Sb2Te3 lump was aligned to achieve saturable absorption. When the mode-locked operation was observed, the lump position was further slightly aligned to obtain the possible broad optical spectrum and finally fixed using UV curable low-RI polymer. The pressure force has been then released and the mode-locking was not lost. Such a prepared SA as well as its cross-section are presented in Fig. 1(a) and (b)
Fig. 1 Prepared Sb2Te3 and side-polished fiber based SA: a) photograph, b) cross-section. c) EDS spectrum taken from the Sb2Te3 lump placed onto the side-polished fiber containing typical lines characteristics for Sb2Te3 (inset graph: the Raman spectrum measured at 532 nm).
.

The material composition was confirmed with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). The spectrum taken using Hitachi SU 6600 scanning electron microscope equipped with a NORAN System 7 energy dispersive spectrometer (EDS) is depicted in Fig. 1(c). It consist of typical lines characteristics for Sb2Te3 [38

38. Q. Yuan, Q. Nie, and D. Huo, “Preparation and characterization of the antimony telluride hexagonal nanoplates,” Curr. Appl. Phys. 9(1), 224–226 (2009). [CrossRef]

]. The crystalline structure of the Sb2Te3 lump was confirmed by the Raman spectrum measured at 532 nm and presented in the inset graph of Fig. 1(c). It contains three main peaks located at 69 cm−1, 112 cm−1 and 166cm−1 which are close to that theoretically calculated by Soso et al. [39

39. G. C. Sosso, S. Caravati, and M. Bernasconi, “Vibrational properties of crystalline Sb2Te3 from first principles,” J. Phys. Condens. Matter 21(9), 095410 (2009). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

].

The linear absorption of the SA was measured in the range from 1500 nm to 1600 nm using white light source (Yokogawa AQ4305) and optical spectrum analyzer (Yokogawa AQ6370B). The measurement range was limited to the 100 nm span because the side-polished fiber was optimized for that range. The linear absorption was at the level of 50% ± 2% (Fig. 2(a)
Fig. 2 Prepared Sb2Te3 based SA absorption measured for: a) low intensities (linear absorption at the level of 50%), b) high intensities (nonlinear absorption with modulation depth and non-saturable loses of 6% and 43%, respectively).
) and was characterized by a very flat profile. The nonlinear power-dependent transmission measurement was carried out using a 100 MHz repetition rate picosecond laser source and an all-fiber setup, similar to that commonly used for nonlinear measurements of graphene or CNT [7

7. T. Hasan, Z. Sun, F. Wang, F. Bonaccorso, P. H. Tan, A. G. Rozhin, and A. C. Ferrari, “Nanotube–Polymer Composites for Ultrafast Photonics,” Adv. Mater. 21(38-39), 3874–3899 (2009). [CrossRef]

]. When the peak power intensity was increased the saturation of absorption was observed. The SA transmission was increased about 6% (Δα- modulation depth) to the level of 57% in comparison to linear absorption (Fig. 2(b)).

The calculation of the exact value of peak power intensity is limited knowledge of the absorbing layer cross-section area that interacts with laser radiation and the amount of interacting light. In our calculations we take into account the light crossing the area limited by the mode filed diameter (10.5 µm@1550 nm for SMF-28 fiber). This approach allows for comparison of different SA based on an evanescent field interaction with the absorbing layer. The saturation intensity was at the level of 31 MW/cm2 which corresponded to the peak power of 29 W. The peak power at saturation is comparable to that reported by Lee et al. [33

33. J. Lee, J. Koo, Y. M. Jhon, and J. H. Lee, “A femtosecond pulse erbium fiber laser incorporating a saturable absorber based on bulk-structured Bi2Te3 topological insulator,” Opt. Express 22(5), 6165–6173 (2014). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

] for Bi2Te3 based SA prepared in the similar way. Hence, the transmission of the side-polished fibers is polarization dependent the polarization-dependent (PLD) losses of the SA were also investigated and were of 3.2 dB. The minimum insertion losses were at the level of 1 dB.

3. Experimental setup

The setup of the stretched-pulse mode-locked laser is depicted in Fig. 3
Fig. 3 Experimental setup of the stretched-pulse fiber mode-locked laser based on Sb2Te3 SA.
. The laser consists of an Er-doped active fiber (EDF) (OFS EDF80) pumped by a 980 nm laser diode via a fused 980/1550 nm wavelength division multiplexer (WDM). The signal was coupled out using 30% output coupler (OC). Fiber-based in-line polarization controller (PC) allows to adjust the intra-cavity polarization and start the mode-locked operation. The signal counter-direction propagation was forced by a fiber isolator. In order to obtain the stretched-pulse configuration the anomalous dispersion of the SMF-28 (β2 = −0.022 ps2/m) and HI1060 (β2 = −0.007 ps2/m) fibers was compensated by the dispersion compensation fiber (DCF, β2 = 0.049 ps2/m), and EDF (β2 = 0.061 ps2/m). The laser resonator consists of: 0.46 m EDF, 0.22 m HI1060 fiber, 2.1 m DCF and 6.38 m SMF-28 which results in a cavity net group delay dispersion (GDD) of approx. −0.0109 ps2. The slightly anomalous net GDD is typical for stretched-pulse lasers [2

2. M. Nikodem and K. M. Abramski, “169 MHz repetition frequency all-fiber passively mode-locked erbium doped fiber laser,” Opt. Commun. 283(1), 109–112 (2010). [CrossRef]

,10

10. D. Popa, Z. Sun, F. Torrisi, T. Hasan, F. Wang, and A. C. Ferrari, “Sub 200 fs pulse generation from a graphene mode-locked fiber laser,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 97(20), 203106 (2010). [CrossRef]

,36

36. K. Tamura, E. P. Ippen, H. A. Haus, and L. E. Nelson, “77-fs pulse generation from a stretched-pulse mode-locked all-fiber ring laser,” Opt. Lett. 18(13), 1080 (1993). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

,37

37. K. Krzempek, G. Sobon, P. Kaczmarek, and K. M. Abramski, “A sub-100 fs stretched-pulse 205 MHz repetition rate passively mode-locked Er-doped all-fiber laser,” Laser Phys. Lett. 10(10), 105103 (2013). [CrossRef]

].

The performance of the laser was observed using an optical spectrum analyzer (Yokogawa AQ6375), 12 GHz digital oscilloscope (Agilent Infiniium DSO91304A), 7 GHz RF spectrum analyzer (Agilent EXA N9010A) coupled with a 12 GHz photodetector (Discovery Semiconductors DSC2-50S), and an optical autocorrelator (APE PulseCheck).

3. Experimental results

The laser starts to operate in mode-locked regime when the pump power was increased to 80 mW and the intracavity polarization was aligned using the PC. In order to obtain the stable operation without peaks originating from the continuous wave (CW) lasing, it was needed to decrease the pump power. The mode-locking remained stable for pump powers in the range form 30 mW – 50 mW. The slightly anomalous intracavity dispersion allows the generation of optical pulses centered at 1565 nm with the FWHM bandwidth of 30 nm (Fig. 4(a)
Fig. 4 a) Optical spectrum of the generated pulses, b) autocorrelation trace measured after the 140 cm long SMF-28 fiber.
). The generated pulses were positively chirped at the laser output and were compressed to 128 fs (Fig. 4(b)) using a 140 cm-long piece of SMF-28 fiber. The autocorrelation trace shows that the pulses were still slightly chirped which results in time-bandwidth-product (TBP) of 0.47. In order to exclude the possibility of self-mode-locking the laser setup was tested with clean side-polished fibers. No signs of mode-locked operation were observed.

The RF spectrum of the laser with the repetition rate of 22.32 MHz is depicted in Fig. 5(a)
Fig. 5 a) RF spectrum of the mode-locked laser output measured with 2 MHz frequency span and 100 Hz RBW. Inset: spectrum in 3 GHz span, b) corresponding pulse train.
. The electrical signal to noise ratio (SNR) measured with 80 Hz resolution bandwidth (RBW) at 2 MHz span was higher than 65 dB. The corresponding oscilloscope trace is depicted in Fig. 5(b). The pulses are equally spaced by approx. 44.8 ns, corresponding to 22.32 MHz repetition frequency and 9.16 m cavity length. The pulse energy and peak power calculated for the 1 mW average power are 44.8 pJ and 328 W, respectively.

4. Summary

Concluding, the paper presents the first demonstration of a stretched-pulse fiber mode-locked laser based on topological insulator. As a SA the bulk Sb2Te3 deposited onto the side-polished fiber was used. The flat linear absorption spectrum in the range 1500 nm to 1600 nm and modulation depth of 6% allows to generate broad optical spectrum in dispersion managed laser resonator. The laser spectrum with characteristic for stretched-pulse shape was centered at 1565 nm with FWHM of 30 nm. Such a broad optical spectrum allows for generation of 128 fs pulses with a repetition rate of 22.32 MHz and S/N ratio better than 65 dB. The obtained results as well as previously presented by Lee et al. [33

33. J. Lee, J. Koo, Y. M. Jhon, and J. H. Lee, “A femtosecond pulse erbium fiber laser incorporating a saturable absorber based on bulk-structured Bi2Te3 topological insulator,” Opt. Express 22(5), 6165–6173 (2014). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

] and Jung et al. [34

34. M. Jung, J. Lee, J. Koo, J. Park, Y.-W. Song, K. Lee, S. Lee, and J. H. Lee, “A femtosecond pulse fiber laser at 1935 nm using a bulk-structured Bi2Te3 topological insulator,” Opt. Express 22(7), 7865–7874 (2014). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

] show that the SAs based on topological insulators integrated with side-polished fibers are promising devices for ultrashort pulses generation in various spectral regions.

Acknowledgments

This work was partially supported by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education under the project entitled “Investigation of saturable absorbers based on graphene oxide and reduced graphene oxide” (project no. IP2012 052072). The authors acknowledge Wojciech Macherzynski for his contribution to this work.

References and links

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M. Nikodem and K. M. Abramski, “169 MHz repetition frequency all-fiber passively mode-locked erbium doped fiber laser,” Opt. Commun. 283(1), 109–112 (2010). [CrossRef]

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U. Keller, “Recent developments in compact ultrafast lasers,” Nature 424(6950), 831–838 (2003). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

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G. Sobon, J. Sotor, I. Pasternak, A. Krajewska, W. Strupinski, and K. M. Abramski, “Thulium-doped all-fiber laser mode-locked by CVD-graphene/PMMA saturable absorber,” Opt. Express 21(10), 12797–12802 (2013). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

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J. Sotor, G. Sobon, I. Pasternak, A. Krajewska, W. Strupinski, and K. M. Abramski, “Simultaneous mode-locking at 1565 nm and 1944 nm in fiber laser based on common graphene saturable absorber,” Opt. Express 21(16), 18994–19002 (2013). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

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J. Sotor, G. Sobon, J. Tarka, I. Pasternak, A. Krajewska, W. Strupinski, and K. M. Abramski, “Passive synchronization of erbium and thulium doped fiber mode-locked lasers enhanced by common graphene saturable absorber,” Opt. Express 22(5), 5536–5543 (2014). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

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M. N. Cizmeciyan, J. W. Kim, S. Bae, B. H. Hong, F. Rotermund, and A. Sennaroglu, “Graphene mode-locked femtosecond Cr:ZnSe laser at 2500 nm,” Opt. Lett. 38(3), 341–343 (2013). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

19.

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27.

J. Sotor, G. Sobon, W. Macherzynski, P. Paletko, K. Grodecki, and K. M. Abramski, “Mode-locking in Er-doped fiber laser based on mechanically exfoliated Sb2Te3 saturable absorber,” Opt. Mater. Express 4(1), 1–6 (2014). [CrossRef]

28.

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33.

J. Lee, J. Koo, Y. M. Jhon, and J. H. Lee, “A femtosecond pulse erbium fiber laser incorporating a saturable absorber based on bulk-structured Bi2Te3 topological insulator,” Opt. Express 22(5), 6165–6173 (2014). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

34.

M. Jung, J. Lee, J. Koo, J. Park, Y.-W. Song, K. Lee, S. Lee, and J. H. Lee, “A femtosecond pulse fiber laser at 1935 nm using a bulk-structured Bi2Te3 topological insulator,” Opt. Express 22(7), 7865–7874 (2014). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

35.

L. E. Nelson, D. J. Jones, K. Tamura, H. A. Haus, and E. P. Ippen, “Ultrashort-pulse fiber ring lasers,” Appl. Phys. B 65(2), 277–294 (1997). [CrossRef]

36.

K. Tamura, E. P. Ippen, H. A. Haus, and L. E. Nelson, “77-fs pulse generation from a stretched-pulse mode-locked all-fiber ring laser,” Opt. Lett. 18(13), 1080 (1993). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

37.

K. Krzempek, G. Sobon, P. Kaczmarek, and K. M. Abramski, “A sub-100 fs stretched-pulse 205 MHz repetition rate passively mode-locked Er-doped all-fiber laser,” Laser Phys. Lett. 10(10), 105103 (2013). [CrossRef]

38.

Q. Yuan, Q. Nie, and D. Huo, “Preparation and characterization of the antimony telluride hexagonal nanoplates,” Curr. Appl. Phys. 9(1), 224–226 (2009). [CrossRef]

39.

G. C. Sosso, S. Caravati, and M. Bernasconi, “Vibrational properties of crystalline Sb2Te3 from first principles,” J. Phys. Condens. Matter 21(9), 095410 (2009). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

OCIS Codes
(140.3500) Lasers and laser optics : Lasers, erbium
(140.3510) Lasers and laser optics : Lasers, fiber
(140.4050) Lasers and laser optics : Mode-locked lasers
(160.4330) Materials : Nonlinear optical materials

ToC Category:
Lasers and Laser Optics

History
Original Manuscript: April 16, 2014
Revised Manuscript: May 19, 2014
Manuscript Accepted: May 19, 2014
Published: May 23, 2014

Citation
Jaroslaw Sotor, Grzegorz Sobon, and Krzysztof M. Abramski, "Sub-130 fs mode-locked Er-doped fiber laser based on topological insulator," Opt. Express 22, 13244-13249 (2014)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-22-11-13244


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References

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