Abstract

A new effect appears in femtosecond optical pulse compression, using single-mode fibers, that we describe as optical wave breaking. In the fiber, frequency-shifted light in the leading and trailing edges of a pulse overtakes unshifted light in the pulse tails. Mixing of these overlapping frequency components generates sidelobes on the pulse spectrum. The effect often leads to computational instabilities, but careful numerical simulations, including fiber loss, give results in excellent agreement with experiment.

© 1985 Optical Society of America

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