High-power mid-infrared femtosecond fiber laser in the water vapor transmission window

Sergei Antipov, Darren D. Hudson*, Alexander Fuerbach, Stuart D. Jackson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The recent demonstrations of ultrafast mid-infrared fiber lasers emitting sub-picosecond pulses at 2.8 μm have created an exciting potential for a range of applications including mid-infrared frequency combs and materials processing. So far, this new class of laser has been based on the4I11 /2-4I13/2 transition in erbium-doped fluoride fibers, which lies directly in a region of high water vapor absorption. This absorption has limited the achievable bandwidth, pulse duration, and peak power and poses a serious problem for transmission in free space. In this Letter, we present an ultrafast mid-infrared fiber laser that overcomes these limitations by using holmium as the gain medium. Holmium allows the central emission wavelength to shift to nearly 2.9 μm and avoid the strong water vapor lines. This laser, which represents the longest wavelength mode-locked fiber laser, emits 7.6 nJ pulses at 180 fs duration, with a record peak power of 37 kW. At this power level, the laser surpasses many commercial free-space OPA systems and becomes attractive for laser surgery of human tissue, for industrial materials modification, and for driving broadband coherent supercontinuum in the mid-infrared.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1373-1376
Number of pages4
JournalOptica
Volume3
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2016

Keywords

  • Fiber optics, infrared
  • Mode-locked lasers
  • Rare-earth-doped materials
  • Ultrafast lasers

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