Mid-infrared (mid-IR) fiber lasers that are based on dysprosium (Dy) as the active laser ion provide emission in the wavelength range between 2.6–3.4 μm and can thus bridge the spectral gap between holmium (Ho) and erbium (Er) based mid-IR lasers. Another distinct feature is the wide choice of pump wavelengths (1.1 μm, 1.3 μm, 1.7 μm, and 2.8 μm) that can be used. To date, pump wavelengths shorter than 1.1 μm have not been reported and all demonstrated pump wavelengths apart from in-band pumping suffer from pump excited state absorption (ESA). In this paper, we report new excitation wavelengths, 0.8 μm and 0.9 μm, for Dy-doped mid-IR fiber lasers. We have measured 18.5% and 23.7% slope efficiency (relative to launched pump power) for 0.8 μm and 0.9 μm pumping wavelengths, respectively. By comparing the residual pump power of experimental and numerical simulation data of a 0.5 m Dy-doped fiber, we have found that these new excitation wavelengths are free from pump ESA. Moreover, the high power laser diodes are commercially available at these new excitation wavelengths; therefore, the realization of a diode-pumped Dy-doped mid-infrared fiber laser might become feasible in the near future.
Mode-locked fiber lasers are currently limited to sub-3-μm wavelengths, despite application-driven demand for longer wavelength mid-IR pulse sources. Erbium- and holmium-doped fluoride fiber lasers are emerging for 2.7-2.9 μm emission, yet further extending this coverage is challenging. Here, we propose a new approach using dysprosium-doped fiber with frequency shifted feedback (FSF), achieving 33 ps pulses with up to 2.7 nJ energy, tunable from 2.97 to 3.30 μm. Notably, this is the longest wavelength mode-locked fiber laser and the most broadly tunable pulsed fiber source to date. Simulations are also performed, offering insights into the dynamics of FSF pulse generation.
The development of new, compact mid-infrared light sources is critical to enable biomedical sensing applications in resource-limited environments. Here, we review progress in fiber-based mid-IR sources, which are ideally suited for clinical environments due to their compact size and waveguide format. We first discuss recent developments in mid-IR supercontinuum sources, which exploit nonlinear optic phenomena in highly nonlinear materials (pumped by ultrashort pulse lasers) to generate broadband spectra. An emerging alternative approach is then presented, based on broadly tunable mid-IR fiber lasers, using the promising dysprosium ion to achieve orders of magnitude higher spectral power density than typical supercontinua. By employing an acousto-optic tunable filter for wavelength tuning, an electronically controlled swept-wavelength mid-IR fiber laser is developed, which is applied for absorption spectroscopy of ammonia (NH3), an important biomarker, with 0.3 nm resolution and 40 ms acquisition time.
Previously reported progress in 3 micron dysprosium doped ZBLAN fiber lasers achieved record conversion efficiency but was limited in tuneability due to the inband nature of the pumping scheme. Near infrared pumping has also been demonstrated but was limited in conversion efficiency due both to pump excited state absorption and large quantum defect. We address these limitations by employing a Raman fiber laser operating at 1700 nm as a pump source. Reduced quantum defect shows promise for efficiency gains while maintaining near infrared pumping and the increased gain bandwidth shows promise for pulsed operation.
We explore the potential of a new mid-infrared laser transition in praseodymium-doped fluoride fiber for emission around 3.4 μm, which can be conveniently pumped by 0.975 μm diodes via ytterbium sensitizer co-doping. Optimal cavity designs are determined through spectroscopic measurements and numerical modeling, suggesting that practical diode-pumped watt-level mid-infrared fiber sources beyond 3 μm could be achieved.