A semi-analytic tool is developed for investigating pulse dynamics in mode-locked lasers. It provides a set of rate equations for pulse energy, width, and chirp, whose solutions predict how these pulse parameters evolve from one round trip to the next and how they approach their final steady-state values. An actively mode-locked laser is investigated using this technique and the results are in excellent agreement with numerical simulations and previous analytical studies.
©2005 Optical Society of America
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