Abstract

We demonstrate a broadband all-fiber-optical parametric amplifier for ultrafast time-stretch imaging at 1.0 μm, featured by its compact design, alignment-free, high efficiency, and flexible gain spectrum through fiber nonlinearity- and dispersion-engineering: specifically on a dispersion-stabilized photonic-crystal fiber (PCF) to achieve a net gain over 20 THz (75 nm) and a highest gain of 6000 (37.5 dB). Another unique feature of the parametric amplifier, over other optical amplifiers, is the coherent generation of a synchronized signal replica (called idler) that can be exploited to offer an extra 3-dB gain by optically superposing the signal and idler. It further enhances signal contrast and temporal stability. For proof-of-concept purpose, ultrahigh speed and diffraction-limited time-stretch microscopy is demonstrated with a single-shot line-scan rate of 13 MHz based on the dual-band (signal and idler) detection. Our scheme can be extended to other established bioimaging modalities, such as optical coherence tomography, near infrared fluorescence, and photoacoustic imaging, where weak signal detection at high speed is required.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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