We demonstrate a passively mode-locked holmium-praseodymium co-doped ring fiber laser that produces an estimated 950 fs pulsewidth and peak power of 4.3 kW at a pulse repetition rate of 74 MHz. The measured center wavelength was 2.86 µm which overlaps more strongly with liquid water whilst better avoiding atmospheric water vapor which overlaps more strongly with previously reported ultrafast Er3+ fiber lasers operating at 2.8. Thus the present system should display better long term stability compared to the Er3+-based system and at the same time, be a more practical tool for interaction with biological tissues.
The laser was constructed using a 1.2 m long double-clad fluoride fiber doped with Ho3+ and Pr3+ ions and arranged into a unidirectional ring resonator that was resistant to instabilities associated with back reflections. Two semiconductor 1150 nm laser diodes with the maximum combined output of 7.5 W were used to pump the fiber. Mode-locking was achieved using the combination of two techniques: sub-picosecond pulses were produced by nonlinear polarization evolution after longer pulses were initially obtained using an in-cavity GaAs saturable absorber having a modulation depth of 90% and a relaxation time of 10 ps. A standard arrangement employing two waveplates and an optical isolator was introduced into the resonator to carry out nonlinear polarization rotation. The average power of the mode-locked laser reached 350 mW after the 50% outcoupling mirror. The RF signal-to-noise ratio reached 67 dB for the first peak at the resolution bandwidth of 10 kHz.
Sergei Antipov, Stuart D. Jackson, Michael J. Withford, and Alexander Fürbach, "A passively mode-locked sub-picosecond Ho3+,Pr3+-doped fluoride fiber laser operating at 2.86 µm (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10083, Fiber Lasers XIV: Technology and Systems, 100831A (Presented at SPIE LASE: February 01, 2017; Published: 21 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2253510.5383482373001.
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