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Ultrabroadband infrared solid-state lasers

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3 Author(s)
Sorokin, E. ; Inst. fur Photonik, Vienna Univ. of Technol., Austria ; Naumov, S. ; Sorokina, I.T.

Ultrabroadband infrared transition metal ion-doped solid-state lasers have come of age and are increasingly being used in trace gas monitoring, remote sensing, telecommunications, ophthalmology, and neurosurgery. Operating at room temperature, they are stable, versatile, and easy to handle successors to the color center lasers. They are becoming the critical components in optical frequency standards, space-based remote sensing systems, and may soon find application in femtochemistry and attosecond science. The article reviews the principles and basic physics of these types of lasers, which are distinguished by their ability to support the shortest pulses down to single optical cycle durations and the ultimately broad tuning ranges. The paper further reviews the state of the art in the existing diode-pumped sources of broadly tunable continuous wave, and ultrashort pulsed radiation in the infrared, and provides examples of their successful application to supercontinuum generation, trace gas measurements, and ultrasensitive intracavity spectroscopy. Developments in such lasers as Cr:YAG, Cr:ZnSe, Cr:ZnS, as well as the recently proposed mixed Cr:ZnSxSe1-x laser, are discussed in more detail. These lasers nearly continuously cover the infrared spectral region between 1.3 and 3.1 μm. The gain spectra of these lasers perfectly match and extend toward the infrared spectra of such established ultrabroadband lasers, operating at shorter wavelengths between ∼0.7-1.3 μm, as Ti:sapphire, Cr:LiSAF/Cr:LiSGaF and Cr:forsterite. This opens up new opportunities for synthesis of single-cycle optical pulses and frequency combs in the infrared.

Published in:

Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:11 ,  Issue: 3 )

Date of Publication:

May-June 2005

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