Abstract

A low-threshold self-starting Kerr-lens mode-locked Ti:sapphire laser is demonstrated that uses a tight-focusing cavity design in conjunction with a semiconductor saturable- absorber mirror (SESAM). With 3% and 12% output couplers, we achieve mode-locking thresholds as low as 390 and 600  mW, respectively. Stable femtosecond laser pulses with average power of 114  mW are generated at a pump power of 1.2  W, which corresponds to a typical duration of 17  fs and bandwidth of 47  nm. Mode-locking operation is achieved in a pump power range of 600  mW to 4.8  W at an output coupling of 12%; the advantages of using a SESAM for low-power mode-locking operation are demonstrated.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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