A novel method for the generation of high-energy ultrashort optical pulses is described and studied theoretically and numerically. Through the combination of parametric amplification and enhancement cavities, this method opens a route to generate few-cycle pulses at unprecedented average power levels through the use of a low-energy, high average-power pump source and energy storage in the enhancement cavity. Dispersion in the enhancement cavity ceases to be a concern with the use of long pump pulses. Limitations set by the Kerr nonlinearity of the amplifier crystal are analyzed, and ways to overcome them using self-defocusing nonlinearities are discussed.
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