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Active Q switching of a fiber laser with a microsphere resonator

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Abstract

We propose and demonstrate an active Q-switched fiber laser using a high-Q microsphere resonator as the Q-switching element. The laser cavity consists of an Er-doped fiber as the gain medium, a glass microsphere reflector (coupled through a fiber taper) at one end of the cavity, and a fiber Bragg grating reflector at the other end. The reflectivity of the microsphere is modulated by changing the gap between the microsphere and the fiber taper. Active Q switching is realized by oscillating the microsphere in and out of contact with the taper. Using this novel technique, we have obtained giant pulses (maximum peak power 102W, duration 160ns) at a low pump-power threshold (3mW).

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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