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Dynamics and Origin of Mode Instabilities in High Power Fiber Laser Amplifiers

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Mode instabilities occurring in fiber laser systems during high power operation are currently the most limiting effect for average power scaling. We experimentally and theoretically investigate this effect. A high-resolution high-speed camera has been used to temporally resolve the dynamics of mode-instabilities. We show that periodic fluctuations of the beam are observable right above the mode instability threshold. Additionally, the temporal fluctuations become slower with larger mode-field diameters. These results support the thesis of a thermally induced long-period grating as the origin of mode-instabilities.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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