When an ultrafast optical pulse with high intensity is propagating through transparent material a supercontinuum can be coherently generated by self-phase modulation, which is essential to many photonic applications in fibers and integrated waveguides. However, the presence of dispersion causes stagnation of spectral broadening past a certain propagation length, requiring an increased input peak power for further broadening. We present a concept to drive supercontinuum generation with significantly lower input power by counteracting spectral stagnation via alternating the sign of group velocity dispersion along the propagation. We demonstrate the effect experimentally in dispersion alternating fiber in excellent agreement with modeling, revealing almost an order of magnitude reduced peak power compared to uniform dispersion. Calculations reveal a similar power reduction also with integrated optical waveguides, simultaneously with a significant increase of flat bandwidth, which is important for on-chip broadband photonics.
|Published - 6 May 2019