Abstract

In this Letter, we describe a novel, to the best of our knowledge, device based on micro-structured graphene, referred to as zebra-patterned graphene saturable absorber (ZeGSA), which can be used as a saturable absorber with adjustable loss to initiate femtosecond pulse generation. Femtosecond laser micro-machining was employed to ablate monolayer graphene on an infrasil substrate in the form of stripes with a different duty cycle, resulting in the formation of regions with variable insertion loss in the 0.21%–3.12% range. The mode-locking performance of the device was successfully tested using a ${{\rm Cr}^{4 {+} }}{:}\,{\rm forsterite}$ laser, operating near 1250 nm. In comparison with mode locking using non-ablated graphene, the ZeGSA device with regions of decreasing graphene, enabled improved power performance where the mode-locked output power increased from 68 mW to 114 mW, and the corresponding pulse duration decreased from 62 to 48 fs at the same incident pump power of 6.3 W. These experiments indicate that ZeGSA shows great potential as a laser mode locker with adjustable loss and that it should find applications in the development of femtosecond lasers over a broad spectral range.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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