175 fs-long pulses from a high-power single-mode er-doped fiber laser at 1550 nm
Development of Er-doped ultrafast lasers have lagged behind the corresponding developments in Yb- and Tm-doped lasers, in particular, fiber lasers. Various applications benefit from operation at a central wavelength of 1.5 μm and its second harmonic, including emerging applications such as 3D processing of silicon and 3D printing based on two-photon polymerization. We report a simple, robust fiber master oscillator power amplifier operating at 1.55 μm, implementing chirp pulse amplification using single-mode fibers for diffraction-limited beam quality. The laser generates 80 nJ pulses at a repetition rate of 43 MHz, corresponding to an average power of 3.5 W, which can be compressed down to 175 fs. The generation of short pulses was achieved using a design which is guided by numerical simulations of pulse propagation and amplification and manages to overturn gain narrowing with self-phase modulation, without invoking excessive Raman scattering processes. The seed source for the two-stage amplifier is a dispersion-managed passively mode-locked oscillator, which generates a ∼40 nm-wide spectrum and 1.7-ps linearly chirped pulses.