Precision frequency metrology and attosecond pulse generation critically rely on stabilization of the carrier-envelope phase (CEP) of mode-locked lasers. So far, only a relatively small class of lasers has been successfully stabilized to warrant phase jitters of a few hundred milliradians as they are required for the generation of an isolated attosecond pulse. For stabilizing certain laser types, the exact reasons for the observed difficulties (or the lack thereof) is only poorly understood. Here we compare the free-running CEP noise of four different lasers, including a femtosecond Ti:sapphire laser and three mode-locked fiber lasers. This study indicates a correlation between amplitude and frequency fluctuations at low Fourier frequencies for essentially all lasers investigated. This finding is well explained with technical noise sources and thermal coupling mechanisms below the upperstate lifetime of the laser gain material. However, for one of the lasers under test, we observe a broadband amplitude-to-phase coupling mechanism well above the upperstate lifetime. This coupling mechanism is related to a dynamical loss modulation. We verify our explanation by numerical simulations, which identify resonances of the saturable absorber mirror as a possible explanation for the coupling mechanism. In case of high modulation depth and resonantly enhanced saturation characteristics, such a saturable absorber can give rise to broadband conversion of spontaneous emission amplitude noise into phase noise, which may cause, in turn, extremely broadband noise signatures, exceeding a megahertz bandwidth.
We report on a simple passive scheme to reduce the intensity noise of high-power nonlinear fiber amplifiers by use of the spectral-breathing parabolic evolution of the pulse amplification with an optimized negative initial chirp. In this way, the influences of amplified spontaneous emission (ASE) on the amplifier intensity noise can be efficiently suppressed, owing to the lower overall pulse chirp, shorter spectral broadening distance, as well as the asymptotic attractive nature of self-similar pulse amplification. Systematic characterizations of the relative intensity noise (RIN) of a free-running nonlinear Yb-doped fiber amplifier are performed over a series of initial pulse parameters. Experiments show that the measured amplifier RIN increases respect to the decreased input pulse energy, due to the increased amount of ASE noise. For pulse amplification with a proper negative initial chirp, the increase of RIN is found to be smaller than with a positive initial chirp, confirming the ASE noise tolerance of the proposed spectral-breathing parabolic amplification scheme. At the maximum output average power of 27W (25-dB amplification gain), the incorporation of an optimum negative initial chirp (-0.84 chirp parameter) leads to a considerable amplifier root-mean-square (rms) RIN reduction of ~20.5% (integrated from 10 Hz to 10 MHz Fourier frequency). The minimum amplifier rms RIN of 0.025% (integrated from 1 kHz to 5 MHz Fourier frequency) is obtained along with the transform-limited compressed pulse duration of 55fs. To our knowledge, the demonstrated intensity noise performance is the lowest RIN level measured from highpower free-running femtosecond fiber amplifiers.
Conference Committee Involvement (1)
Ultrafast Optics 2017
8 October 2017 | Jackson Hole, Wyoming, United States