Abstract

A robust optical parametric amplifier (OPA) scheme is proposed in which we have experimentally achieved broadband bandwidth for a collinear OPA design that exhibits good beam quality and spatial distribution using a type-I β barium borate crystal. The applied pump pulses are simultaneously spectrally broadened and temporally stretched in a multi-plate system before being used to amplify the temporally stretched white light. In this case, the phase matching can be obtained for a broad range of wavelengths, and we have managed to achieve bandwidths three times broader than a conventional narrowband pumped collinear OPA. With a bandwidth as broad as 400 nm centered at 1400 nm, as well as a broadband angular dispersion-free idler, the signal bandwidth supports transform-limited pulses as short as 7.5 fs which correspond to sub-two optical cycles for this center wavelength. Furthermore, the system is easily tunable over a 400 nm range of bandwidths starting from 1100 to 1500 nm. The proposed scheme provides a versatile near-infrared/middle-infrared source with a broad bandwidth and fine tuning capability which paves the way for ultrafast spectroscopy and strong field applications.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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