22 February 2017 Commercial mode-locked vertical external cavity surface emitting lasers
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Abstract
In recent years, M Squared Lasers have successfully commercialized a range of mode-locked vertical external cavity surface emitting lasers (VECSELs) operating between 920-1050nm and producing picosecond-range pulses with average powers above 1W at pulse repetition frequencies (PRF) of ~200MHz. These laser products offer a low-cost, easy-to-use and maintenance-free tool for the growing market of nonlinear microscopy. However, in order to present a credible alternative to ultrafast Ti-sapphire lasers, pulse durations below 200fs are required.

In the last year, efforts have been directed to reduce the pulse duration of the Dragonfly laser system to below 200fs with a target average power above 1W at a PRF of 200MHz. This paper will describe and discuss the latest efforts undertaken to approach these targets in a laser system operating at 990nm. The relatively low PRF operation of Dragonfly lasers represents a challenging requirement for mode-locked VECSELs due to the very short upper state carrier lifetime, on the order of a few nanoseconds, which can lead to double pulsing behavior in longer cavities as the time between consecutive pulses is increased.

Most notably, the design of the Dragonfly VECSEL cavity was considerably modified and the laser system extended with a nonlinear pulse stretcher and an additional compression stage. The improved Dragonfly laser system achieved pulse duration as short as 130fs with an average power of 0.85W.
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Walter Lubeigt, Bartlomiej Bialkowski, Jipeng Lin, C. Robin Head, Nils Hempler, Gareth T. Maker, Graeme P. A. Malcolm, "Commercial mode-locked vertical external cavity surface emitting lasers", Proc. SPIE 10087, Vertical External Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VECSELs) VII, 100870D (22 February 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2254830; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2254830
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