Optical fibre lasers and amplifiers
This thesis describes the development and characterisation of single-mode optical fibre lasers and amplifiers. Although the fibre laser configuration was first employed over twenty years ago, its application to conventional optical fibre technology has not been demonstrated previously. The new devices are based on single-mode fibres doped with rare-earth ions, notably neodymium and erbium. The combination of strong absorption bands, long fluorescence lifetimes; low fibre losses in the infra-red and small fibre cores have made possible very low threshold and efficient fibre lasers. Experiments on the tunability, output spectra and pulsed operation of these devices are described. A number of world firsts, including the Lowest, threshold and widest tuning range of a doped glass laser, and the efficient CW operation of an erbium-doped three level laser, have been achieved. High-gain amplification at 1.54µm, the preferred wavelength for optical communication, has also been demonstrated. The results have been modelled by adapting conventional laser theory to the single-mode fibre configuration, and some simple design criteria are considered.