The impact of spectral modulations of the contrast of pulses of nonlinear chirped-pulse amplification systems
A detrimental pulse distortion mechanism inherent to nonlinear chirped-pulse amplification systems is revealed and analyzed. When seeding the nonlinear amplification stage with pulses possessing weak side-pulses, the Kerr-nonlinearity causes a transfer of energy from the main pulse to side pulses. The resulting decrease in pulse contrast is determined by the accumulated nonlinear phase-shift (i.e., the B-integral) and the initial pulse-contrast. The energy transfer can be described by Bessel-functions. Thus, applications relying on a high pulse-contrast demand a low B-integral of the amplification system and a master-oscillator that exhibits an excellent pulse-contrast. In particular, nonlinear fiber CPA-systems operated at B-integrals far beyond p have to be revised in this context.