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Agile optical frequency synthesis via parametric processes


Rapid development in emerging applications, such as real- time combustion monitoring and biomedical imaging, has demanded the agility performance of tunable optical sources to an unprecedented level. Contemporary tunable sources, however, possess limited tuning speed and range due to constraints in tuning mechanisms and gain material engineering. In this dissertation, we introduce a new approach to address the need for highly-agile tunable radiation through extra-cavity tuning enhancement. Recognized by the instantaneous response, wide spectral bandwidth and good power efficiency, parametric effects in silica-based optical fibers are chosen to demonstrate the agility enhancement concepts. Two schemes, namely cavity- less source tuning (CAST) and swept-pump parametric oscillation and translation (SPOT), are consequently developed using the coherent wave-mixing and amplification attributes of parametric processes. Dispersion engineering for parametric mixers forms the cornerstone of the enhancement schemes presented. Highly-efficient, wideband mixing enabled by both homogeneous and stage-wise mixer dispersion management has led to order-of-magnitude improvement in tuning characteristics. Conversely, spectrally localized parametric interaction with proper higher-order dispersion control has allowed swiftly- tunable light generation beyond the spectral range of existing tunable laser sources. This dissertation thus covers the design and experimentation of the parametric mixers that demonstrate record performance in agile light synthesis

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