Power scaling of fiber lasers is challenged by several factors, such as the brightness of the pump source, the nonlinear effect, modal instability, and so on. Pumping active fibers with high-brightness fiber lasers instead of laser diodes is a promising solution for the brightness limitation and modal instability. In this paper, for the first time to our knowledge, we present a general review on the achievements of various kinds of high-power fiber lasers based on the tandem pumping scheme in the past few years. The requirements for tandem pumping ytterbium (Yb), erbium (Er), thulium (Tm), and holmium (Ho)-doped fibers are analyzed, and corresponding achievements are summarized. Hundreds of watts of fiber lasers at , , and 1900 nm and hundred-watt-level fiber lasers at and have been successfully achieved. Then, these powerful fiber lasers with high brightness can be employed as pump sources for Yb-, Er-, Tm- and Ho-doped fibers. Moreover, a recent experimental result of a 3.5 kW Yb-doped fiber amplifier in an all-fiber format is reported in addition to previous typical achievements. The underlying challenges for further power scaling, including the nonlinear effect suppression and special fiber design, are briefly discussed. Exploring the tandem pumping scheme in novel application fields is discussed as well.
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29 March 2017: A correction was made to Ref. 62.
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