Abstract

The pulse shape and spectrum of ultrashort-pulse Ti:sapphire mode-locked lasers are explained by a model akin to dispersion-managed pulse propagation of optical communications. The pulse is characterized as a nonlinear Bloch wave in a periodic structure. The ultimate spectral width is limited by dispersion and mirror bandwidth and less strongly by gain filtering. The main role of Kerr-lens mode locking is to provide stability against noise buildup. One-dimensional computer simulations are sufficient to explain the major pulse-shaping dynamics. Results are compared with experiment.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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