Completely self-starting and stable operation of a Kerr-lens mode-locked Ti:sapphire laser was realized in both picosecond and femtosecond regimes. The cavity has a symmetric X configuration with soft aperturing. Enhanced Kerr nonlinearity and reduced backscattering effects were thought to be key to obtaining stable self-starting self-mode-locked operation from 765 to 815 nm for the picosecond regime and from 770 to 835 nm for the femtosecond regime. The mode-locking starting time as measured by the onset of the second-harmonic signal ranged from 300 ms to 2 s, depending on cavity alignment. Preliminary data also suggest that intracavity intensity fluctuation necessary for the laser to evolve into stable mode locking could be as short as 10–40 ps.
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