Optical parametric amplifiers (OPAs) impose an optical parametric phase (OPP) onto the amplified signal. It manifests itself as a spectral phase in the case of broadband signals and, therefore, hampers pulse compression. Here we present, for the first time, a complete experimental characterization of this OPP for different ultra-broadband noncollinear OPA configurations. This measurement allows us to compensate the OPP and to achieve Fourier-limited pulses as short as 1.9 optical cycles. A numerical model is in excellent agreement with our measurements and reveals the importance of high order phase compensation in the case of noncollinear phase matching. In contrast, operation at degeneracy enables almost complete compensation of the OPP by second-order dispersion only.
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