Modeling of mode-locking in a laser with spatially separate gain media

R.M. Oldenbeuving, C.J. Lee, P.D. van Voorst, H.L. Offerhaus, K.-J. Boller

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We present a novel laser mode-locking scheme and discuss its unusual properties and feasibility using a theoretical model. A large set of single-frequency continuous-wave lasers oscillate by amplification in spatially separated gain media. They are mutually phase-locked by nonlinear feedback from a common saturable absorber. As a result, ultra short pulses are generated. The new scheme offers three significant benefits: the light that is amplified in each medium is continuous wave, thereby avoiding issues related to group velocity dispersion and nonlinear effects that can perturb the pulse shape. The set of frequencies on which the laser oscillates, and therefore the pulse repetition rate, is controlled by the geometry of resonator-internal optical elements, not by the cavity length. Finally, the bandwidth of the laser can be controlled by switching gain modules on and off. This scheme offers a route to mode-locked lasers with high average output power, repetition rates that can be scaled into the THz range, and a bandwidth that can be dynamically controlled. The approach is particularly suited for implementation using semiconductor diode laser arrays.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22996-23008
Number of pages12
JournalOptics express
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Locked lasers
  • Laser beam combining
  • Ultrafast Lasers


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