Graphene mode-locked Cr:LiSAF laser at 850 nm
We report, for the first time to our knowledge, a mode-locked femtosecond Cr:LiSAF laser initiated with a high-quality monolayer graphene saturable absorber (GSA), synthesized by chemical-vapor deposition. The tight-focusing resonator architecture made it possible to operate the Cr:LiSAF laser with only two 135 mW, 660 nm low-cost single-mode diode lasers. At a pump power of 270 mW, the laser produced nearly transform-limited 68 fs pulses with an average power of 11.5 mW at 850 nm. The repetition rate was around 132 MHz, corresponding to a pulse energy and peak power of 86 pJ and 1.26 kW, respectively. Once mode locking was initiated with the GSA, stable, uninterrupted femtosecond pulse generation could be sustained for hours. The saturation fluence and the modulation depth of the GSA were further determined to be 28 μJ/cm2 and 0.62%, respectively. 2015 Optical Society of America.