We analyze the effects of noise on the power spectrum of pulse trains generated by a continuously operating passively mode-locked laser. The shape of the different harmonics of the power spectrum is calculated in the presence of correlated timing fluctuations between neighboring pulses and in the presence of amplitude fluctuations. The spectra at the different harmonics are influenced mainly by the nonstationary timing-jitter fluctuations; amplitude fluctuations slightly modify the spectral tails. Estimation of the coupling term between the longitudinal cavity modes or the effective saturable absorber coefficient is made from the timing-jitter correlation time. Experimental results from an external cavity two-section semiconductor laser are given. The results show timing-jitter fluctuations having a relaxation time much longer than the repetition period.
© 1997 Optical Society of America
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