We report the generation of pulses with a peak power of up to using a fiber pulse source based on a polarization-maintaining ytterbium-doped fiber amplifier and a semiconductor saturable absorber mirror mode-locked fiber laser seed. The seed laser pulses were amplified and chirped in the fiber amplifier and subsequently compressed in an external transmission grating pair. The use of a polarization-maintaining amplifier addresses nonlinear polarization-induced limitations to the obtainable compressed pulse duration and quality that can arise if isotropic fiber amplification is used. Numerical simulations of the system support the experimental measurements and also confirm the role of fiber dispersion in obtaining high-quality compressed pulses.
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