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Mach–Zehnder interferometer comb filter for multi-wavelength mode-locked generation from erbium-doped fiber laser

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Abstract

A picosecond pulse multi-wavelength erbium-doped fiber ring laser based on an optically switchable/tunable Mach–Zehnder interferometer (MZI) filter is proposed and experimentally demonstrated. The MZI configuration is constructed with two 3 dB couplers and two short pieces of endlessly single-mode photonic crystal fiber with different lengths in each arm. The combination of the MZI and a polarization controller (PC) acts as a selective comb filter and a mode-locking device. By adjusting the pump power or the first PC (PC1) state, the laser can emit up to 10 channels with a 20 nm tuning range (1530 to 1550 nm). Furthermore, by changing the PC1 condition, stable picosecond mode-locking generation with a repetition rate of 13.5 MHz is realized. To achieve wavelength spacing tunable multiple-channel laser emissions, the MZI is configured by incorporating a second PC (PC2) in one arm of the conventional MZI. Four channels of picosecond mode-locking pulses with a repetition rate of 11.6 MHz in the range of 1530–1550 nm are realized by carefully controlling the pump power and/or PC2 state. With the manipulation of intracavity birefringence through PCs with comb filtering via MZI, the proposed structure may be a potential tool in various photonics applications.

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