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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Spectral dynamics on saturable absorber in mode-locking with time stretch spectroscopy.

  • Author(s): Suzuki, Masayuki
  • Boyraz, Ozdal
  • Asghari, Hossein
  • Jalali, Bahram
  • et al.

A mode-locked laser that can produce a broadband spectrum and ultrashort pulse has been applied for many applications in an extensive range of scientific fields. To obtain stable mode-locking during a long time alignment-free, a semiconductor saturable absorber is one of the most suitable devices. Dynamics from noise to a stable mode-locking state in the spectral-domain are known as complex and a non-repetitive phenomenon with the time scale from nanoseconds to milliseconds. Thus, a conventional spectrometer, which is composed of a grating and line sensor, cannot capture the spectral behavior from noise to stable mode-locking. As a powerful spectral measurement technique, a time-stretch dispersive Fourier transformation (TS-DFT) has been recently used to enable a successive single-shot spectral measurement over a couple of milliseconds time span. Here, we experimentally demonstrate real-time spectral evolution of femtosecond pulse build-up in a homemade passive mode-locked Yb fiber laser with a semiconductor saturable absorber mirror using TS-DFT. Capturing 700 consecutive spectra (~ 17 µs time window) in real-time using the time-stretch technique, we are able to resolve the transient dynamics that lead to stable mode-locking. Before setting stable mode-locking, an oscillating or shifting fringe pattern in the consecutive spectra was detected. This signature proves the existence of multiple pulses (including a soliton molecule) which is temporally separated with a different relative phase. The dynamics on multiple pulses is originated from a fast relaxation time of the saturable absorption effect. This study provides novel insights into understanding the pulse behavior during the birth of an ultrafast mode-locked laser pulse and the stable single-pulse operation which is highly stabilized.

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