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Carrier-envelope offset stabilization of a GHz repetition rate femtosecond laser using opto-optical modulation of a SESAM

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Abstract

We demonstrate, to the best of our knowledge, the first carrier-envelope offset (CEO) frequency stabilization of a GHz femtosecond laser based on opto-optical modulation (OOM) of a semiconductor saturable absorber mirror (SESAM). The 1.05-GHz laser is based on a Yb:CALGO gain crystal and emits sub-100-fs pulses with 2.1-W average power at a center wavelength of 1055 nm. The SESAM plays two key roles: it starts and stabilizes the mode-locking operation and is simultaneously used as an actuator to control the CEO frequency. This second functionality is implemented by pumping the SESAM with a continuous-wave 980-nm laser diode in order to slightly modify its nonlinear reflectivity. We use the standard f-to-2f method for detection of the CEO frequency, which is stabilized by applying a feedback signal to the current of the SESAM pump diode. We compare the SESAM-OOM stabilization with the traditional method of gain modulation via control of the pump power of the Yb:CALGO gain crystal. While the bandwidth for gain modulation is intrinsically limited to 250kHz by the laser cavity dynamics, we show that the OOM provides a feedback bandwidth above 500 kHz. Hence, we were able to obtain a residual integrated phase noise of 430 mrad for the stabilized CEO beat, which represents an improvement of more than 30% compared to gain modulation stabilization.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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