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Title: Advancements in mode-locked fibre lasers and fibre supercontinua
Author: Kelleher, Edmund J. R.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2723 9767
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2012
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The temporal characteristics and the spectral content of light can be manipulated and modified by harnessing linear and nonlinear interactions with a dielectric medium. Optical fibres provide an environment in which the tight confinement of light over long distances allows the efficient exploitation of weak nonlinear effects. This has facilitated the rapid development of high-power fibre laser sources across a broad spectrum of wavelengths, with a diverse range of temporal formats, that have established a position of dominance in the global laser market. However, demand for increasingly flexible light sources is driving research towards novel technologies and an improved understanding of the physical mechanisms and limitations of existing approaches. This thesis reports a series of experiments exploring two topical areas of ongoing research in the field of nonlinear fibre optics: mode-locked fibre lasers and fibre-based supercontinuum light sources. Firstly, integration of novel nano-materials with existing and emerging fibre-based gain media allows the demonstration of ultrafast mode-locked laser sources across the near-infrared in a conceptually simple, robust, and compact scheme. Extension to important regions of the visible is demonstrated using nonlinear conversion. Scaling of pulse energies in mode-locked lasers can be achieved by operating with purely positive dispersion for the generation of chirped pulses. It is shown unequivocally, through a direct measurement, that the pulses generated in ultra-longmode-locked lasers can exist as highly-chirped dissipative soliton solutions of the cubic (and cubic-quintic) Ginzburg Landau equation. The development of a numerical model provides a framework for the interpretation of experimental observations and exposes unique evolution dynamics in extreme parameter ranges. However, the practical limitations of the approach are revealed and alternative routes towards achieving higher-energy are proposed. Finally, an experimental and numerical study of the dependence of continuous-wave pumped supercontinua on the coherence properties of the pump source shows an optimum exists that can be expressed as a function of the modulation instability period. A new and simplified model representing the temporal fluctuations expressed by continuous wave lasers is proposed for use in simulations of supercontinua evolving from noise. The implications of the experiments described in this thesis are summarised within the broader context of a continued research effort.
Supervisor: Taylor, James Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral