Abstract

We expand upon previously published [Opt. Lett. 37, 3279 (2012) [CrossRef]  ] experimental results on third harmonic generation with a focused Gaussian beam in the semi-infinite limit, and compare these results with an analytical treatment of the phase-matching integral and simulations to investigate limits to the conversion efficiency. In the tight-focusing limit for a Gaussian beam, the phase-matching integral vanishes in the lowest-order nonlinear term, leading to poor conversion efficiency and mode quality. However, we utilize two techniques to break the phase-matching symmetry to dramatically improve the conversion efficiency and mode. Both methods inhibit third harmonic generation after the focus, preventing the cancellation of the harmonic radiation. We show that new limits on the conversion efficiency are set by induced nonlinear phase-mismatch and ionization.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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