Abstract

Femtosecond optical parametric amplification that results in microjoule mid-infrared pulses at wavelengths exceeding 3 µm is demonstrated. Narrow-band quasi-cw seeding at the signal wavelength is applied to ensure the generation of nearly transform-limited femtosecond pulses at the idler wavelength. The broad bandwidth of the parametric amplification provided by pumping with femtosecond pulses from a Ti:sapphire regenerative amplifier at high intensity results in idler pulse durations shorter than the pump pulse length. The potentials of three nonlinear optical crystals that belong to the potassium titanyl phosphate family are comparatively studied. At 1-kHz repetition rate our all-solid-state system produces highly synchronized ∼100-fs pulses in the spectral range between 3 and 4 µm.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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