Mode‐locked lasers exhibit a rich landscape of unstable dissipative soliton dynamics as stable mode‐locking builds up from noise due to the interplay of nonlinearity and dispersion with cavity gain and loss. Here, we combine, for the first time, real‐time spectral dispersive Fourier transform and time lens measurements with sub-nm and sub-picosecond resolution, respectively, to characterize the spectral and temporal profiles of dissipative solitons emerging during the turn‐on phase of a passively mode‐locked fiber laser. The fact that both measurements of the spectral and temporal intensities are performed in real-time and simultaneously allows for the use of standard phase retrieval algorithm to reconstruct the full field (intensity and phase). Our measurements then allows us to follow how the pulses evolve from round trip to round trip, revealing a range of complex dynamics typical of dissipative solitons including molecules, collisions, and collapse. These results are significant in providing a unique picture of the internal evolution of fiber laser dissipative solitons, and we anticipate their application in the optimization and design of lasers with improved stability characteristics. More generally, we believe that our results will stimulate the widespread use of simultaneous temporal and spectral characterization as a standard technique for the study of ultrafast complex optical systems including e.g. rogue wave and modulation instability that also display complex transient dynamics.
Piotr Ryczkowski, Mikko Närhi, Cyril Billet, Jean-Marc Merolla, Goëry Genty, and John M. Dudley, "Real-time full field measurements of transient dissipative soliton dynamics in a passively mode-locked laser (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10517, Real-time Measurements, Rogue Phenomena, and Single-Shot Applications III, 1051705 (Presented at SPIE LASE: January 29, 2018; Published: 14 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2289650.5751426578001.
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