Abstract

A physical scenario whereby freely propagating mid-infrared pulses can be compressed to pulse widths close to the field cycle is identified. Generation of tunable few-cycle pulses in the wavelength range from 4.2 to 6.8 μm is demonstrated at a 1-kHz repetition rate through self-focusing-assisted spectral broadening in a normally dispersive, highly nonlinear semiconductor material, followed by pulse compression in the regime of anomalous dispersion, where the dispersion-induced phase shift is finely tuned by adjusting the overall thickness of anomalously dispersive components. Sub-two-cycle pulses with a peak power up to 60 MW are generated in the range of central wavelengths tunable from 5.9 to 6.3 μm.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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