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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.


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[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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