We present a Fourier domain mode locking (FDML) fiber laser with a feedback loop allowing automatic startup without a priori knowledge of the fundamental drive frequency. The feedback can also regulate the drive frequency making the source robust against environmental variations. A control system samples the energy of the light traversing the FDML cavity and uses a voltage controlled oscillator (VCO) to drive the tunable fiber Fabry-Perot filter in order to maximize that energy. We demonstrate a prototype self-starting, self-regulating FDML operating at 40 kHz with a full width tuning range of 140 nm around 1305 nm and a power output of ~40 mW. The laser starts up with no operator intervention in less than 5 seconds and exhibits improved spectral stability over a conventional FDML source. In OCT applications the source achieved over 120 dB detection sensitivity and an ~8.9-µm axial resolution.
© 2011 OSAFull Article | PDF Article