Abstract

Continuum generation from normally dispersive ultrahigh-numerical-aperture fibers deteriorates in relatively short times, limiting its application as a practical optical source for high-resolution optical coherence tomography. We find that reversible light-induced structural modification of fiber optic materials, rather than permanent optical damage, is responsible for this deterioration. By examining how the optical properties of corresponding light-induced waveguides depend on pumping wavelength, we isolate a waveguide that is beneficial for stable continuum generation. The performance deterioration due to the formation of other waveguides can be reversed by overwriting them with this particular waveguide.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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