We have numerically and experimentally verified that the sequence of optical elements in a femtosecond Ti:sapphire laser affects the laser’s characteristics. Even with the same net dispersion in a cavity, the output spectrum showed a significant change in width and shape when the sequence of dispersive elements was changed in a Kerr-lens mode-locked Ti:sapphire laser with fused-silica prisms for dispersion compensation. It was also shown that the output coupler’s position can affect the dynamics of pulse formation by the combined action of output coupling and self-phase modulation. We explain such phenomena based on pulse formation in a laser cavity with discrete distribution of dispersion and self-phase modulation.
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