We have carried out a detailed experimental study of the behavior of 200-fs pulses in highly nonlinear photonic crystal fiber to elucidate the mechanisms for supercontinuum generation. To avoid unwanted polarization effects, our experiments were performed using polarization-maintaining fiber. The experimental evidence shows that, as in conventional fibers, Raman scattering leads to the breakup of higher-order solitons, which is accompanied by the generation of radiation at shorter wavelengths than the pump, leading eventually to an ultrabroad supercontinuum.
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