Nonlinear spectral broadening is widely used for applications like attosecond pulse generation, XUV sources, supercontinuum generation or ultrafast spectroscopy. In these cases the laser is typically spectrally broadened and compressed to reach pulse durations much shorter than originally available. For pulse energies in the millijoule regime, spectral broadening is routinely implemented using capillary optical fibers [1] with remarkable results in terms of output pulse durations and beam quality. In addition to fiber-based approaches, the application of multipass cells for spectral broadening [2] recently attracted increasing interest. These cells are capable of preserving a nearly Gaussian mode in the presence of nonlinear effects without a spatial filter or optical fiber, they are robust to input pointing, have a high throughput of more than 90% and can be used with high average powers and energies. In a multipass cell the nonlinear interaction with either gas [3] or a thin solid [2] provides a small amount of spectral broadening within each pass. Based on this concept we recently demonstrated output energies of almost 18 mJ by guiding near infrared pulses with a pulse duration of 1.3 ps and a repetition rate of 5 kHz through an argon filled multipass cell [4]. We obtained a broadening factor of over 33 and could show compressibility down to 41 fs. The energy was limited by the breakdown intensity of argon and the damage threshold of the used optics.

© 2019 IEEE

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