Abstract

We study the largely unexplored transition between coherent and noise-seeded incoherent continuum generation in all-normal dispersion (ANDi) fibers and show that highly coherent supercontinua with spectral bandwidths of one octave can be generated with long pump pulses of up to 1.5 ps duration, corresponding to soliton orders of up to N=600. In terms of N, this corresponds to an approximately 50 times increase of the coherent regime compared to anomalous dispersion pumping. In the transition region between coherent and incoherent spectral broadening, we observe the manifestation of nonlinear phenomena that we term incoherent cloud formation and incoherent optical wave breaking, which lead to a gradual or instantaneous coherence collapse of supercontimuum (SC) spectral components, respectively. The role played by stimulated Raman scattering and parametric four-wave mixing during SC generation in ANDi fibers is shown to be more extensive than previously recognized: their nonlinear coupling contributes to the suppression of incoherent dynamics at short pump pulse durations, while it is responsible for non-phase-matched parametric amplification of noise observed in the long pulse regime. We further discuss the dependence of SC coherence on fiber design, and present basic experimental verifications for our findings using single-shot detection of SC spectra generated by picosecond pulses. This work outlines both the further potential as well as the limitations of broadband coherent light source development for applications such as metrology, nonlinear imaging, and ultrafast photonics, among others.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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