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Thulium fiber laser and application development

: Shah, L.; Gaida, C.; Gebhardt, M.; Sincore, A.; Bradford, J.D.; Gehlich, N.; Mingareev, I.; Richardson, M.


Dubinskii, M. ; Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers -SPIE-, Bellingham/Wash.:
Laser technology for defense and security X : 6 - 7 May 2014, Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Bellingham, WA: SPIE, 2014 (Proceedings of SPIE 9081)
ISBN: 978-1-62841-018-1
Paper 90810H
Conference "Laser Technology for Defense and Security" <10, 2014, Baltimore/Md.>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer ILT ()

Within the past 10 years, thulium (Tm)-doped fiber lasers have emerged as a flexible platform offering high average power as well as high peak power. Many of the benefits and limitations of Tm:fiber lasers are similar to those for ytterbium (Yb)-doped fiber lasers, however the ~2 µm emission wavelength posses unique challenges in terms of laser development as well as several benefits for applications. In this presentation, we will review the progress of laser development in CW, nanosecond, picosecond, and femtosecond regimes. As a review of our efforts in the development of power amplifiers, we will compare large mode area (LMA) stepindex and photonic crystal fiber (PCF) architectures. In our research, we have found Tm-doped step index LMA fibers to offer relatively high efficiency and average powers at the expense of fundamental mode quality. By comparison, Tm-doped PCFs provide the largest mode area and quasi diffraction-limited beam quality however they are approximately half as efficient as step-index fibers. In terms of defense related applications, the most prominent use of Tm:fiber lasers is to pump nonlinear conversion to the mid-IR such as supercontinuum generation and optical parametric oscillators/amplifiers (OPO/A). We have recently demonstrated Tm:fiber pumped OPOs which generate ~28 kW peak power in the mid-IR. In addition, we will show that Tm:fiber lasers also offer interesting capabilities in the processing of semiconductors.