Abstract

Wave-breaking often occurs when a short intense optical pulse propagates in a long normally dispersive optical fiber. This effect has conventionally been avoided in fiber (super-)continuum-based pulse compression because the accumulated frequency chirp of the output pulse cannot be fully compensated by a standard prism (or grating) pair. Thus, the spectral extending capability of the wave-breaking has not been utilized to shorten the compressed pulse. We demonstrate that wave-breaking-free operation is not necessary if a 4f pulse shaper-based compressor is employed to remove both the linear and nonlinear chirp of the output pulse. By propagating a 180 fs (FWHM) input pulse in a nonlinear photonic crystal fiber beyond the wave-breaking limit, we compress the wave-breaking-extended supercontinuum output pulse to the bandwidth-limited duration of 6.4 fs (FWHM). The combination of high compression ratio (28×) and short pulse width represents a significant improvement over that attained in the wave-breaking-free regime.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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