We report the fabrication of photonic crystal fibers with a continuously-decreasing zero-dispersion wavelength along their length. These tapered fibers are designed to extend the generation of supercontinuum spectra from the visible into the ultraviolet. We report on their performance when pumped with both nanosecond and picosecond sources at 1.064 µm. The supercontinuum spectra have a spectral width (measured at the 10 dB points) extending from 0.372 µm to beyond 1.75 µm. In an optimal configuration a flat (3 dB) spectrum from 395 to 850 nm, with a minimum spectral power density of 2 mW/nm was achieved, with a total continuum output power of 3.5 W. We believe that the shortest wavelengths were generated by cascaded four-wave mixing: the continuous decrease of the zero dispersion wavelength along the fiber length enables the phase-matching condition to be satisfied for a wide range of wavelengths into the ultraviolet, while simultaneously increasing the nonlinear coefficient of the fiber.
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