Experiment and modeling show that the refractive index nonlinearity can significantly degrade the contrast of a chirped-pulse amplifier seeded with a pulse and a single postpulse. Multiple powerful non-equidistant pre- and postpulses are generated. For a Gaussian pulse and a hat-top beam, an incident postpulse of energy W results in a prepulse of energy 0.58B
W, where B is the nonlinear phase (B-integral) of the main pulse. Calculations show that level of satellites due to gain saturation is negligibly small. Experimental results for Ti:Sapphire regenerative and multipass amplifiers and prepulse generation in fused silica agree well with the theory.
© 2008 Optical Society of America
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