Abstract

High-accuracy measurements and analysis of refractive index change induced by photodarkening and thermal bleaching in ytterbium-doped fibers are presented, based on a modal interference method. Photodarkening-induced refractive index change is positive at the ytterbium lasing wavelengths near 1080nm, and it approaches a saturated level, which is in the order of 106105 for the tested fiber samples. It is found that the value of this refractive index change is linearly proportional to the photodarkening-induced excess loss at an arbitrary probe wavelength in the visible band. Thermal bleaching can only partially erase the photodarkening-induced refractive index change, leaving a residual index change of (0.20.3)×105. The influence of the photodarkening-induced refractive index change on fiber lasers is discussed.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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