We report new aspects of temporal dispersion in Fourier pulse shapers that contain spectral dispersers with a nonlinear frequency to space mapping. These effects are particularly important in high-resolution operation, since high-resolution dispersers typically exhibit pronounced nonlinear angular dispersion over relatively small bandwidths. In this paper we present a general discussion of the new effects followed by quantitative analysis and experimental verification for pulse shapers, which utilize a virtually imaged phased array (VIPA) as the spectral disperser. Compared to the well-known 4-F configuration, our results demonstrate a substantial modification to the placement of the optical components required to obtain zero temporal dispersion. Furthermore, spectral phase variations associated with nonzero dispersion coupled with contributions from multiple diffraction orders are shown to give rise to a dramatic new spectral interference effect, which can be used to monitor temporal dispersion purely in the spectral domain. We expect the effects we present in this paper to become prominent even for more conventional diffraction-grating-based pulse shapers for bandwidths sufficiently large that nonlinear spectral mapping becomes strong.
© 2010 Optical Society of America
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