We report on two types of modal instabilities observed in high power Yb amplifiers based on Large Mode Area Fibers. The first is observed to occur at a Threshold Power, which we refer to as Threshold Power Modal Instabilities (TPMI). The modal instability is observed as a decrease in beam quality or reduced core light output as higher order modes leak into the fiber cladding. In PM 25/400 fiber amplifiers, we observe the threshold for the modal instability to vary depending on pump wavelength detuning, with the onset occurring at approximately 15 W/m peak heat load. In PM 20/400 and 25/400 fiber amplifiers without stress rods or other polarization control, we can achieve 1 kW output, limited by available pump power, without modal instabilities. The second type of modal instability is observed for certain cases where the fiber initially operates without any sign of MI but then degrades over an extended operating time, leading to a similar behavior as the TPMI. We refer to the second class as Fiber Degradation Modal Instabilities (FDMI). For these degraded fibers, we observe that fiber performance is unchanged below the critical power for modal instabilities. Experiments on degraded fiber show a wavelength dependent permanent change in the degraded fiber with a memory of the original operating wavelength.
We present results of pulsed, narrowband amplification at 1540.6nm using a polarization maintaining, large mode area gain fiber codoped with erbium and ytterbium. At a repetition rate of 55 kHz, 2.9 W of average 1540.6nm power were generated with a pulse duration of 136 ns, corresponding to an SBS free peak power of 360 W. The amplified signal was frequency doubled in peridically poled potassium titanyl phosphate and conversion efficiencies of up to 56% were generated. When varying the repetition rate between 55-150 kHz the conversion efficiency changed from 56% to 35% due to the limited pump power.
We describe a pulsed blue (485 nm) laser source based on frequency quadrupling a pulsed Tm fiber laser. Up to 1.2 W at 485 nm was generated with an M 2 of 1.3. At 10 kHz pulse repetition frequency, the output pulse at 485 nm was 65 ns FWHM resulting in an estimated peak power of 1.8 kW. We anticipate further improvements in power scaling with higher power Tm fiber lasers and improved conversion efficiency to the blue with optimized AR coatings and nonlinear optical crystals.
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