We report on the experimental observation of period-doubling bifurcation and period-doubling route to chaos in a femtosecond soliton fiber laser passively mode locked by using the nonlinear polarization rotation technique. Increasing energy of the solitons circulating in the laser cavity, it was revealed that the intensity pattern of the output solitons experiences a period doubling route to chaos. Period-doubling route to chaos is a universal property of the nonlinear dynamic systems transiting from a stable state to a chaotic state. This experimental result shows that the nonlinear propagation of soliton pulses in the laser cavity is an intrinsic dynamic process, which follows the universal laws of the nonlinear dynamic systems.
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