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Light amplification by seeded Kerr instability

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Science  09 Feb 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6376, pp. 673-675
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaq0053

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Seeding a laser amplifier

Amplification of femtosecond laser pulses requires a lasing medium or a nonlinear crystal. The chemical properties of the lasing medium or adherence to momentum conservation rules in the nonlinear crystal constrain the frequency and the bandwidth of the amplified pulses. Vampa et al. seeded modulation instability in a laser crystal pumped with femtosecond near-infrared pulses. This provided a method for the high gain amplification of broadband and short laser pulses up to intensities of 1 terawatt per square centimeter. The method avoids constraints related to doping and phase matching and can be expected to be applied to a wide pool of glasses and crystals.

Science, this issue p. 673

Abstract

Amplification of femtosecond laser pulses typically requires a lasing medium or a nonlinear crystal. In either case, the chemical properties of the lasing medium or the momentum conservation in the nonlinear crystal constrain the frequency and the bandwidth of the amplified pulses. We demonstrate high gain amplification (greater than 1000) of widely tunable (0.5 to 2.2 micrometers) and short (less than 60 femtosecond) laser pulses, up to intensities of 1 terawatt per square centimeter, by seeding the modulation instability in an Y3Al5O12 crystal pumped by femtosecond near-infrared pulses. Our method avoids constraints related to doping and phase matching and therefore can occur in a wider pool of glasses and crystals even at far-infrared frequencies and for single-cycle pulses. Such amplified pulses are ideal to study strong-field processes in solids and highly excited states in gases.

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