Abstract

We develop a theoretical model for Fourier domain mode-locked (FDML) lasers in a non-polarization-maintaining configuration, which is the most widely used type of FDML source. This theoretical approach is applied to analyze a widely wavelength-swept FDML setup, as used for picosecond pulse generation by temporal compression of the sweeps. We demonstrate that good agreement between simulation and experiment can only be obtained by including polarization effects due to fiber bending birefringence, polarization mode dispersion, and cross-phase modulation into the theoretical model. Notably, the polarization dynamics are shown to have a beneficial effect on the instantaneous linewidth, resulting in improved coherence and thus compressibility of the wavelength-swept FDML output.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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