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High repetition rate gigawatt peak power fiber laser-systems: Challenges, design, and experiment

: Limpert, J.; Röser, F.; Schimpf, D.N.; Seise, E.; Eidam, T.; Hädrich, S.; Rothhardt, J.; Misas, C.J.; Tünnermann, A.


IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics 15 (2009), No.1, pp.159-169
ISSN: 1077-260X
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IOF ()

We review the main challenges and give design guidelines for high-peak-power high-average-power fiber-based chirped-pulse amplification (CPA) systems. It is clearly pointed out that the lowest order fiber nonlinearity (NL), namely the self-phase modulation, limits the scalability of high-energy ultrashort pulse fiber amplifiers. Therefore, a distinguished difference arises between the consequences of accumulated nonlinear phase originating from the pulse envelope and initial weak modulations, resulting in a strong recommendation to operate an amplification system as linearly as possible in order to generate high-contrast pulses. Low-NL rare-earth-doped fibers, such as the recently available designs of photonic crystal fibers, are the key element for successful peak power scaling in fiber laser systems. In this paper, we present a detailed analysis and optimization of the extraction characteristics in connection with the accumulated nonlinear phase in such extreme fiber dimensions. Consequently, millijoule pulse energy femtosecond pulses at repetition rates in the 100 kHz range have already been demonstrated experimentally in a Yb-fiber-based CPA system that has even further scaling potential.