The generation of high-power and stable ultra-short pulses from a passively mode-locked purely normal dispersion fiber laser is reported using the unique combination of a photonic crystal fiber featuring singlepolarization, single-mode, and low nonlinearity with a high modulation depth semiconductor saturable absorber mirror. The environmentally-stable, self-starting fiber laser generates 1.6 W of average power at a repetition rate of 63 MHz, corresponding to a pulse energy of 25 nJ. The emitted pulses are positively chirped with a pulse duration of 3.7 ps. They are compressible down to a near transform-limited duration of 750 fs. Numerical simulations are in good agreement with the experimental results.
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