Abstract

An ultrashort mid-infrared (IR) source beyond 5 µm is crucial for a plethora of existing and emerging applications in spectroscopy, medical diagnostics, and high-field physics. Nonlinear generation of such sources from well-developed near-IR lasers, however, remains a challenge due to the limitation of mid-IR crystals. Based on oxide ${{\rm La}_3}{{\rm Ga}_{5.5}}{{\rm Nb}_{0.5}}{{\rm O}_{14}}$ (LGN) crystals, here we report the generation of femtosecond pulses tunable from 3 to 7 µm by intrapulse difference-frequency generation of 7.5 fs, 800 nm pulses. The efficiency and bandwidth dependences on pump polarization and crystal length are studied for both Type-I and Type-II phase-matching configurations. Maximum pulse energy of  ${\sim}{10}\;{\rm nJ}$ is generated at 5.2 µm with a conversion efficiency of ${\sim}{0.14}\%$. Because of the few-cycle pump pulse duration, the generated mid-IR pulses are as short as about three cycles. These results, to the best of our knowledge, represent the first experimental demonstration of LGN in generating mid-IR ultrashort pulses.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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