Abstract

Optical parametric chirped-pulse amplification (OPCPA) can be used to improve the prepulse contrast in chirped-pulse amplification systems by amplifying the main pulse with a total saturated OPCPA gain, while not affecting the preceding prepulses of the seed oscillator mode-locked pulse train. We show that a simple modification of a multistage OPCPA system into a cascaded optical parametric amplifier (COPA) results in an optical switch and extreme contrast enhancement that can completely eliminate the preceding and trailing oscillator pulses. Instrument-limited measurement of a prepulse contrast ratio of 1.4×1011 is demonstrated from COPA at a 30mJ level.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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