Abstract

Optical parametric amplifiers render widely tunable ultrashort pulses, but for full spectral coverage, complex mixing schemes are needed. In particular, the blue and near-UV part of the spectrum is not directly reached with the 800 nm pump from Ti:sapphire systems or the 1030 nm pump of Yb-based lasers. We combine third harmonic pumping at 343 nm with seeding by a second harmonic (SH) pumped continuum to tune a noncollinear optical parametric amplifier down to 395 nm. Together with a SH pumped branch, the full range from 395 to 970 nm is covered with 20 fs pulse length or less. Pulse energies up to the μJ-level with an average power of up to 200 mW at 200 kHz and 480 mW at 1 MHz are achieved. With additional frequency doubling, the full range down to 210 nm is reached without gap. Two-photon absorption in the amplifier crystal is discussed as the critical issue in UV-pumped systems.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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