High temporal quality ultrashort pulse generation for coherent seeding of high power near- and mid-infrared optical amplifiers


Project title: "High temporal quality ultrashort pulse generation for coherent seeding of high power near- and mid-infrared optical amplifiers"

Duration: 3 years, starting September 2016

Funding source: First TEAM programme, Foundation for Polish Science and European Union under the European Regional Development Fund

The project aims at developing new, optical fiber-based sources of high-quality, temporally ultra-short and spectrally broadband light pulses in the near- and mid-infrared wavelengths. We will develop new photonic crystal fibers, with engineered, broadband flat normal dispersion characteristics for generation of a coherent supercontinuum.

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With this source we shall be able to seed ytterbium(ca. 1µm), erbium (1.5µm) and thulium (2µm) doped fiber amplifiers over their entire gain bandwidths, thus achieving an intrinsically synchronized, two (Yb, Tm) or three (Yb, Er, Tm) broadband signals with uniform temporal and phase profiles.

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Relatively simple group delay compensation of such power up-scaled signals can provide high-power mid-infrared pulses after mixing in e.g. another nonlinear fiber or other nonlinear optical medium. Alternatively the thulium-amplified signal of such a source can facilitate further broadening of a coherent supercontinuum spectrum into the mid-infrared wavelengths in a cascaded nonlinear fiber scheme with suitably designed cascade fiber stages. Although hyperspectral supercontinuum across the near- and mid-infrared up to 13 µm has been demonstrated in chalcogenide nonlinear fibers, the dispersion of these fibers required pumping at exotic wavelengths available only from complex laser systems. Together with poor coherence properties due to modulation instability, this solution suffers from very poor commercial perspective. Our approach offers to work around these bottlenecks for a perspective of high precision spectroscopy or microscopy applications presently served e.g. by the complex NOPA systems. The uniform and deterministic phase profiles of the signals of coherently seeded fiber amplifiers offer yet another advantage of temporal re-compressibility of the pulses down to the few-cycle regime. Such a light source could be used for ultrashort pulse generation close to the attoscience regime without further amplification stages, or alternatively as a seed source for OPCPA to generate hyperspectral supercontinuum across the VUV and X-ray wavelengths for attosecond science experiments. The core advantages of the light sources proposed in the project in context of the indicated applications, are the up-scaling of the available output power (by full-bandwidth utilization of the mature optical amplifiers) without the pulse quality tradeoffs, as well as the down-scaling of the cost and the complexity of pumping/probing sources in the high precision spectroscopy and microscopy or the driving sources necessary for attosecond-scale pulse generation.

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The project is to leverage on the existing nonlinear optical fiber design and fabrication expertise and capabilities at Institute of Electronic Materials Technology in Warsaw, as well as on the collaboration of the expert partners: dr Alexander Heidt (University of Bern), who has an extensive knowledge in the field of coherent supercontinuum generation and the high power fiber-based optical amplifiers for the ultra-fast laser systems. From the JILA we recruited the collaboration of dr Tenio Popmintchev (University of San Diego), who has conducted cutting-edge research in the field of high harmonics generation for X-ray microscopy applications. The applicant and his ITME team shall collaborate with these two leading scientists on respectively: the delivery fiber-based, coherently seeded near- and mid-infrared ultrashort pulse amplifiers and on their application tests in high harmonics generation and attosecond regime applications.

The project team:

Principal Investigator (Laureate): dr hab. Mariusz Klimczak, prof. ITME

Postdocs: Grzegorz Stępniewski

PhD students: Anupamaa Rampur, Dominik Dobrakowski


The „ High temporal quality ultrashort pulse generation for coherent seeding of high power near- and mid-infrared optical amplifiers” project is carried out within the First TEAM programme of the Foundation for Polish Science co-financed by the European Union under the European Regional Development Fund.