The nonlinear propagation of a partially coherent continuous-wave laser beam in single-mode optical fibers is investigated both theoretically and experimentally, with a special attention to the zero-dispersion wavelength region where modulation instability is expected. Broadband asymmetric spectral broadening is reported experimentally and found in fairly good agreement with a numerical Schrödinger simulation including a phase-diffusion model for the partially coherent beam. This model shows in addition that the underlying spectral broadening mechanism relies not only on modulation instability but also on the generation of high-order soliton-like pulses and dispersive waves. The coherence degradation which results from these ultrafast phenomena is confirmed by autocorrelation measurement.
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