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Pulse Compression

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Definition: linear or nonlinear techniques for reducing the durations of optical pulses

German: Pulskompression, Pulsverkürzung

Categories: methods, light pulses

How to cite the article; suggest additional literature

There is variety of methods for temporally compressing (shortening) optical pulses, i.e., reducing the pulse duration. Typically, such methods start in the picosecond or femtosecond region, i.e. already in the regime of ultrashort pulses. These methods can be grouped into two categories:

A special case is compression using a chirped QPM structure [19]. Here, a χ(2) nonlinearity is used not for spectral broadening, but rather for frequency-converting a strongly chirped pulse such that the converted pulse is not chirped and thus much shorter.

Methods for Nonlinear Pulse Compression

Nonlinear pulse compression can be done with different configurations of optical elements, and with methods which are based on different physical principles. Some examples are:

pulse compression with a fiber and a dispersive compressor

Figure 1: Setup for pulse compression with a normally dispersive fiber and a dispersive compressor.

pulse compression with a fiber

Figure 2: Setup for pulse compression with a fiber only. The compression mechanism could be higher-order soliton compression or adiabatic soliton compression.

pulse compression with similariton pulse propagation

Figure 3: Setup for pulse compression with similariton pulse propagation. While the pulse is amplified in a rare-earth-doped fiber, its duration and spectral width both increase. A dispersive compressor can subsequently reduce the pulse duration strongly.

Which of these methods is most suitable depends on a number of circumstances, including the initial and required pulse duration, the pulse energy, and the demands on pulse quality.

Pulse compression setups can be analyzed and optimized using pulse propagation modeling.

Bibliography

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[2]L. F. Mollenauer et al., “Experimental observation of picosecond pulse narrowing and solitons in optical fibers”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 45 (13), 1095 (1980)
[3]H. E. Bates, “Coherent birefringent optical pulse compression”, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 70 (8), 1017 (1980)
[4]C. V. Shank et al., “Compression of femtosecond optical pulses”, Appl. Phys. Lett. 40, 761 (1982)
[5]L. F. Mollenauer et al., “Extreme picosecond pulse narrowing by means of soliton effect in single-mode optical fibers”, Opt. Lett. 8 (5), 289 (1983)
[6]O. E. Martínez et al., “Negative group-velocity dispersion using refraction”, J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 1 (10), 1003 (1984)
[7]R. L. Fork et al., “Negative dispersion using pairs of prisms”, Opt. Lett. 9 (5), 150 (1984)
[8]W. J. Tomlinson, R. H. Stolen, and C. V. Shank, “Compression of optical pulses chirped by self-phase modulation in fibers”, J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 1 (2), 139 (1984)
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[10]H. H. Kuehl, “Solitons on an axially nonuniform optical fiber”, J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 5 (3), 709 (1988)
[11]A. Stabinis et al., “Effective sum frequency pulse compression in nonlinear crystals”, Opt. Commun. 86, 301 (1991)
[12]S. V. Chernikov et al., “Soliton pulse compression in dispersion-decreasing fiber”, Opt. Lett. 18 (7), 476 (1993)
[13]S. V. Chernikov et al., “Comblike dispersion-profiled fiber for soliton pulse train generation”, Opt. Lett. 19 (8), 539 (1994)
[14]K. Tamura and M. Nakazawa, “Pulse compression by nonlinear pulse evolution with reduced optical wave breaking in erbium-doped fiber amplifiers”, Opt. Lett. 21 (1), 68 (1996)
[15]M. Nisoli et al., “Generation of high energy 10 fs pulses by a new pulse compression technique”, Appl. Phys. Lett. 68, 2793 (1996)
[16]A. Baltuška et al., “Optical pulse compression to 5 fs at a 1-MHz repetition rate”, Opt. Lett. 22 (2), 102 (1997)
[17]M. D. Pelusi and H.-F. Liu, “Higher order soliton pulse compression in dispersion-decreasing optical fibers”, IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 33 (8), 1430 (1997)
[18]M. Nisoli et al., “Compression of high-energy laser pulses below 5 fs”, Opt. Lett. 22 (8), 522 (1997)
[19]A. Galvanauskas et al., “Chirped-pulse-amplification circuits for fiber amplifiers, based on chirped-period quasi-phase-matching gratings”, Opt. Lett. 23 (21), 1695 (1998)
[20]Y. Matsui et al., “Generation of 20-fs optical pulses from a gain-switched laser diode by a four-stage soliton compression technique”, IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 11 (10), 1217 (1999)
[21]M. Drescher et al., “X-ray pulses approaching the attosecond frontier”, Science 291, 1923 (2001)
[22]P. M. Paul et al., “Observation of a train of attosecond pulses from high harmonic generation”, Science 292, 1689 (2001)
[23]J. Biegert and J.-C. Diels, “Compression of pulses of a few optical cycles through harmonic generation”, J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 18 (8), 1218 (2001)
[24]C.-M. Chen and P. L. Kelley, “Nonlinear pulse compression in optical fibers: scaling laws and numerical analysis”, J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 19 (9), 1961 (2002)
[25]T. Südmeyer et al., “Nonlinear femtosecond pulse compression at high average power levels by use of a large-mode-area holey fiber”, Opt. Lett. 28 (20), 1951 (2003)
[26]B. Schenkel et al., “Generation of 3.8-fs pulses from adaptive compression of a cascaded hollow fiber supercontinuum”, Opt. Lett. 28 (20), 1987 (2003)
[27]A. Couairon et al., “Pulse self-compression to single-cycle limit by filamentation in a gas with a pressure gradient”, Opt. Lett. 30 (19), 2657 (2005)
[28]B. Schenkel et al., “Pulse compression with supercontinuum generation in microstructure fibers”, J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 22 (3), 687 (2005)
[29]G. Steinmeyer and G. Stibenz, “Generation of sub-4-fs pulses via compression of a white-light continuum using only chirped mirrors”, Appl. Phys. B 82, 175 (2006)
[30]J. Moses and F. K. Wise, “Soliton compression in quadratic media: high-energy few-cycle pulses with a frequency-doubling crystal”, Opt. Lett. 31 (12), 1881 (2006)
[31]C. P. Hauri et al., “Intense self-compressed, self-phase-stabilized few-cycle pulses at 2 μm from an optical filament”, Opt. Lett. 32 (7), 868 (2007)
[32]R. E. Kennedy et al., “High-peak-power femtosecond pulse compression with polarization-maintaining ytterbium-doped fiber amplification”, Opt. Lett. 32 (10), 1199 (2007)
[33]J. Laegsgaard and P. J. Roberts, “Dispersive pulse compression in hollow-core photonic bandgap fibers”, Opt. Express 16 (13), 9628 (2008)
[34]S. Bohman et al., “Generation of 5 fs, 0.5 TW pulses focusable to relativistic intensities at 1 kHz”, Opt. Express 16 (14), 16684 (2008)
[35]S. Hädrich et al., “High energy ultrashort pulses via hollow fiber compression of a fiber chirped pulse amplification system”, Opt. Express 17 (5), 3913 (2009)
[36]O. D. Mücke et al., “Self-compression of millijoule 1.5 μm pulses”, Opt. Lett. 34 (16), 2498 (2009)
[37]A. A. Amorim et al., “Sub-two-cycle pulses by soliton self-compression in highly nonlinear photonic crystal fibers”, Opt. Lett. 34 (24), 3851 (2009)
[38]J. Rothhardt et al., “1 MHz repetition rate hollow fiber pulse compression to sub-100-fs duration at 100 W average power”, Opt. Lett. 36 (23), 4605 (2011)
[39]A. Ricci et al., “Grism compressor for carrier–envelope phase-stable millijoule-energy chirped pulse amplifier lasers featuring bulk material stretcher”, Opt. Lett. 37 (7), 1196 (2012)
[40]R. Lehneis et al., “Dispersion-free pulse duration reduction of passively Q-switched microchip lasers”, Opt. Lett. 37 (21), 4401 (2012)
[41]S. Hädrich et al., “Nonlinear compression to sub-30-fs, 0.5 mJ pulses at 135 W of average power”, Opt. Lett. 38 (19), 3866 (2013)
[42]K. F. Mak et al., “Two techniques for temporal pulse compression in gas-filled hollow-core kagomé photonic crystal fiber”, Opt. Lett. 38 (18), 3592 (2013)
[43]X. Zhu et al., “Generation of 360 ps laser pulse with 3 J energy by stimulated Brillouin scattering with a nonfocusing scheme”, Opt. Express 23 (18), 23318 (2015)

(Suggest additional literature!)

See also: ultrashort pulses, spectral phase, pulse propagation modeling, pulse duration, dispersion compensation, nonlinearities, self-phase modulation, adiabatic soliton compression, dispersive mirrors
and other articles in the categories methods, light pulses

In the RP Photonics Buyer's Guide, 23 suppliers for equipment for pulse compression are listed.


Dr. R. Paschotta

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