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Fiber lasers mode locked with large normal group-velocity dispersion have recently achieved femtosecond pulse durations with energies and peak powers at least an order of magnitude greater than those of prior approaches. Several new mode-locking regimes have been demonstrated, including self-similar pulse propagation in passive and active fibers, dissipative solitons, and a pulse evolution that avoids wave breaking at high peak power but has not been reproduced by theoretical treatment. Here, we illustrate the main features of these new pulse-shaping mechanisms through the results of numerical simulations that agree with experimental results. We describe the features that distinguish each new mode-locking state and explain how the interplay of basic processes in the fiber produces the balance of amplitude and phase evolutions needed for stable high-energy pulses. Dissipative processes such as spectral filtering play a major role in normal-dispersion mode locking. Understanding the different mechanisms allows us to compare and contrast them, as well as to categorize them to some extent.
Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, IEEE Journal of (Volume:18 , Issue: 1 )
Date of Publication: Jan.-Feb. 2012