We describe a novel mechanism of pulse shortening in a Q-switched laser induced by the gain compression effect under strong pumping conditions. The pulse shortening requires a large variation of the gain excursion during the saturation process and benefits from the large volume of the gain medium. The effect has been experimentally demonstrated using a passive Q-switched -doped fiber laser that shows gain-induced pulse compression from down to when the pump threshold is exceeded by 15 times.
© 2008 Optical Society of America
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