Pulse shaping for a long-distance optical synchronization system
Next generation free electron lasers aim to generate x-ray pulses with pulse durations down to 30 fs, and possibly even sub-fs. Synchronization of various stages of the accelerator and the probe laser system to the x-ray pulses with stability on the order of the pulse width is necessary to make maximal use of this capability. We are developing an optical timing synchronization system in order to meet this challenge. The scheme is based on generating a train of short optical pulses, with a precise repetition frequency, from a mode-locked laser oscillator and distributed via length-stabilized optical fibers to points requiring synchronization. The timing information is embedded in the repetition frequency and its harmonics. A significant advantage of the optical synchronization system is that multiple mode-locked Ti:sapphire seed oscillators typically present in an accelerator facility can be replaced by the master mode-locked fiber laser. In this paper, we briefly review progress on the development of the synchronization system and then discuss the implementation of this new possibility. Several technical issues related to this approach are analyzed.