Multiphoton excitation through optical fibers is limited by pulse broadening caused by self-phase modulation. We show that for short fiber lengths (approximately 2 m) two-photon excitation efficiency at the fiber output can be substantially improved by single-mode propagation in a large-area multimode fiber (10-µm core diameter) instead of a standard 5.5-µm core fiber. Measurements and numerical simulations of postfiber spectra and pulse widths demonstrate that the increase in efficiency is due to a reduction of nonlinear pulse broadening. Single-mode propagation in a large-core fiber is thus suitable for multiphoton applications for which pulse recompression is not possible at the fiber end.
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