Abstract

Broadband mid-infrared supercontinuum pulses were generated directly from a short piece of active fiber in a single-mode Tm-doped fiber amplifier. The broadband mid-infrared pulses have an extremely high spectral flatness with 600nm FWHM bandwidth (from 1.9 μm to 2.5 μm), >15kW peak power, and >20GW/cm2 laser peak intensity. This new approach exhibits a significantly different physical mechanism from other supercontinuum generation demonstrations in the literature, in which usually a piece of passive fiber was used for nonlinear spectral broadening. The physical mechanism for the broadband mid-infrared supercontinuum generation in this approach has been attributed to a combined effect of two superradiative processes of Tm3+ ions (i.e., the F43H63 transition covering the 1.82.1μm spectral region and the H43H53 transition covering the 2.22.5μm spectral region), and also nonlinear optical processes as well in the Tm-doped gain fiber. The spectra of the mid-infrared supercontinuum pulses were further broadened in a 2 m chalcogenide fiber with 20 dB bandwidth 1100nm and a 3 m fluoride fiber with 20 dB bandwidth 2600nm.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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