Abstract

We characterize the phase noises (or timing jitter) of argon-ion-laser-pumped femtosecond Ti:sapphire lasers with intracavity dye saturable absorbers or saturable Bragg reflectors (SBR’s). The significance of the finite lifetime of the absorbers is identified for what is the first time to our knowledge. We show that timing fluctuations of the mode-locked lasers can be suppressed significantly by optimization of intracavity gain bandwidth and group-velocity dispersion. A new active stabilization technique, based on the optoelectronic phase locked loop, is also demonstrated. The rms timing jitter (100–500 Hz) of the femtosecond passively mode-locked Ti:sapphire/dye and Ti:sapphire/SBR lasers operating at an average power of 200 mW is reduced to 650 and 290 fs (500 Hz), respectively.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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