We study mode locking of a titanium-doped sapphire laser with a slow saturable absorber in the cavity. We show that the presence of the absorber stabilizes the pulsed mode of laser operation over a broader range of cavity mirror position and for a wider aperture. However, the basic principle of operation is unchanged from that of a conventional Kerr-lens mode-locked laser, in that, in all cases, we observed strong space–time focusing of the pulses into the laser crystal. Thus the absorber cannot lead to shortening of the pulse below the limit imposed by the Kerr-lens mode locking.
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