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Physical origin of mode instabilities in high-power fiber laser systems

: Jauregui, Cesar; Eidam, Tino; Otto, Hans-Jürgen; Stutzki, Fabian; Jansen, Florian; Limpert, Jens; Tünnermann, Andreas

Postprint (1.2 MByte; PDF; )

Optics Express 20 (2012), Nr.12, S.12912-12925
ISSN: 1094-4087
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer IOF ()

Mode instabilities, i.e. the rapid fluctuations of the output beam of an optical fiber that occur after a certain output power threshold is reached, have quickly become one of the most limiting effects for the further power scaling of fiber laser systems. Even though much work has been done over the last year, the exact origin of the temporal dynamics of this phenomenon is not fully understood yet. In this paper we show that the origin of mode instabilities can be explained by taking into account the interplay between the temporal evolution of the three-dimensional temperature profile inside of the active fiber and the related waveguide changes that it produces via the thermo-optical effect. In particular it is proposed that non-adiabatic waveguide changes play an important role in allowing energy transfer from the fundamental mode into the higher order mode. As it is discussed in the paper, this description of mode instabilities can explain many of the experimental observations reported to date.