Abstract

Simple mathematical models have been unable to predict the conditions leading to instabilities in a tunable ring laser. Here we propose a nonlinear iterative map model for tunable ring lasers. Solving a reduced nonlinear Schrödinger equation for each component in the laser cavity, we obtain an algebraic map for each component. Iterating through the maps gives the total effect of one round trip. By neglecting the nonlinearity, we find a linearly chirped Gaussian to be the analytic fixed point solution, which we analyze asymptotically. We then numerically solve the full nonlinear model, allowing us to probe the underlying interplay of dispersion, modulation, and nonlinearity as the pulse evolves over hundreds of round trips of the cavity. In the nonlinear case, we find that the chirp saturates and the Fourier transform of the pulse becomes more rectangular in shape. Finally, for a nominal plane in the parameter space, we uncover a rich, sharp boundary separating the stable region and the unstable region where instabilities degrade the pulse into an unsustainable state.

© 2021 Optical Society of America

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