We describe an optical parametric chirped pulse amplifier (OPCPA) architecture built around a state of the art Yb-doped fiber femtosecond pump source delivering 300 fs 400 μ pulses at a repetition rate 125 kHz (50 W average power) and a central wavelength of 1030 nm. The short pump pulse duration compared to bulk Yb:YAG or Nd:YVO4 based systems results in a number of important advantages. First, it allows efficient seeding at 1550 nm using supercontinuum generation directly from the pump pulses in a bulk YAG crystal, resulting in extremely robust passive pump-signal synchronization. The short pump pulse duration also allows the use of millimeter to centimeter lengths of bulk materials to provide stretching and compression for the signal and idler, which minimizes the accumulation of higher-order spectral phase. Finally, the shorter pump pulse duration increases the damage peak intensity, permitting the use of shorter nonlinear crystals to perform the amplification, which increases the spectral bandwidth of the parametric process. Additional experiments are performed to sort out the phenomena that limit power scaling in MgO:PPLN crystals. The OPCPA stages are all operated in collinear geometry, allowing the use of both signal and idler without the introduction of angular chirp on the latter. These points result in the dual generation of 70 fs 23 μJ signal pulses at 1550 nm and 60 fs 10 μJ idler pulses at 3070 nm from a simple setup, with the added benefit of inherent CEP stability of the idler pulses.
We report the generation of 10 μJ, ultrashort 97 fs pulses at 1 MHz by implementing a two-arm spectral coherent combining scheme in a fiber chirped-pulse amplifier (FCPA), allowing both gain-narrowing mitigation and large stretching ratio for energy extraction. Such architecture is able to support the amplification of large-bandwidth (>15 nm) together with high gain factor (>30 dB), allowing the generation of ultrashort sub-100 fs pulses at the output of a FCPA for the first time.
The duration of energetic ultrashort pulses is usually limited by the available gain bandwidth of ultrashort amplifiers used to amplify nJ or pJ level seed to hundreds of μμJ or even several mJ. In the case of Ytterbium-doped fiber amplifiers, the available bandwidth is of the order of 40 nm, typically limiting the pulse duration of high-energy fiber chirped-pulse amplifiers to durations above 300 fs. In the case of solid-state amplifier based on Yb:YAG crystals, the host matrix order restricts the amplification bandwidth even more leading to pulses in the low picosecond range. Both architecture would greatly benefit from pulse durations well-below what is allowed by their respective gain bandwidth e.g. sub-100 fs for fiber amplifier and sub-300 fs for solid-state Yb:YAG amplifier. In this contribution, we report on the post-compression of two high energy industrial ultrashort fiber and thin-disk amplifiers using an innovative and efficient hollow core fiber structure, namely the hypocycloid-core Kagome fiber. This fiber exhibits remarkably low propagation losses due to the unique inhibited guidance mechanism that minimize that amount of light propagating in the silica cladding surrounding the hollow core. Spectral broadening is realized in a short piece of Kagome fiber filled with air at 1 atmosphere pressure. For both amplifiers, we were able to demonstrate more than 200 μJ of energy per pulse with duration <100 fs in the case of the fiber amplifier and <300 fs in the case of the thin disk amplifier. Limitations and further energy scaling will also be discussed.
Femtosecond fiber chirped pulse amplifiers have numerous advantages, but are limited in energy because of the small interaction area with the fiber core. In this contribution, we create two orthogonally-polarized stretched pulse replicas in the time domain, following the divided-pulse amplification (DPA) principle. This beam is subsequently separated into two counter-propagating beams in a Sagnac interferometer to finally generate four pulse replicas. These pulses are amplified in two state-of-the-art large mode area rod-type fiber amplifiers in series, before final coherent combination and compression.
Because the stretched-pulse duration is of the order of hundreds of picoseconds, the DPA delay is induced using a freespace interferometer with reasonable arm lengths of few tens of centimeters. The use of a common interferometer to divide and recombine temporal pulse replicas, together with the Sagnac geometry, results in an identical optical path for all four replicas. Therefore, the whole spatio-temporal combining architecture is passive, avoiding the need for active electronic stabilization systems. Because we only use two temporal replicas, the system is immune to differential saturation levels or B-integrals between successive pulses: this is compensated by controlling the amplitude of both pulses at the input of the amplifying setup.
This setup allows the generation of 1 mJ, 300 fs compressed pulses at 50 kHz repetition rate, corresponding to 50 W output average power, with a combining efficiency above 90% at all power levels.
We implement, in the same femtosecond fiber amplifier setup, both chirped pulse amplification and divided pulse amplification. With the generation of temporally delayed replicas this scheme allows an equivalent stretched pulse duration of more than 1ns in a compact tabletop system. The generation of 45 W of compressed average power at 100 kHz, together with 320 fs and 450 μJ pulses, is demonstrated using a rod-type ytterbium-doped fiber.
We demonstrate spectral coherent beam combining of two femtosecond fiber chirped-pulse amplifiers seeded by a common oscillator. Using active phase stabilization based on an electro-optic phase modulator, an average power of 10 W before compression and a high gain factor of 30 dB is obtained. At this gain value, 130 fs pulses with a spectral width of 19 nm can be generated, highlighting the strong potential of pulse synthesis for the reduction of the minimum duration of ultrashort pulses in fiber chirped-pulse amplifiers.
Passive spatial and temporal coherent combining schemes are implemented to scale the output energy of a nonlinear temporal compression setup. By generating 32 replicas of the incident femtosecond pulses, the output of a high energy fiber chirped-pulse amplifier can be compressed using self-phase modulation in a large mode area rod-type fiber at peak power levels well beyond the self-focusing threshold of 4 MW. We demonstrate the generation of 71 fs 7.5 μJ pulses at 100 kHz repetition rate, corresponding to a peak power of 86 MW.