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Nanosecond tandem optical parametric oscillators for mid-infrared generation

by Henriksson, Markus

Abstract (Summary)
This thesis discusses a new scheme for generating radiation in the mid infrared spectral region, especially the 3.5-5 µm range. The scheme uses established Nd3+-lasers at 1.06 µm and down conversion in nonlinear optical crystals. The down conversion is made by two optical parametric oscillators (OPO) in series. The second OPO is a classical OPO using a zink germanium phosphide (ZGP) crystal. ZGP is the best nonlinear material available for the 4-8 µm spectral range, but it is absorbing below 2 µm. The new development presented in this thesis is the OPO used to convert the 1.06 µm laser radiation to a suitable OPO pump near 2 µm.The OPO uses a type I quasi phase-matched crystal, which accesses high nonlinearities and avoids walk-off. The problem with type I OPOs close to degeneracy is the broad bandwidth of the generated radiation, which reduces the efficiency of a second OPO. This has been solved with a spectrally selective cavity using a volume Bragg grating output coupler. Unlike other bandwidth limiting schemes this introduces no intracavity losses and thus efficient OPO operation is achievable.Narrow linewidth (~0.5 nm) OPO operation has been achieved with periodically poled LiNbO3 (PPLN) and periodically poled KTiOPO4 (PPKTP) while locking the signal wavelength at 2008 nm and simultaneously generating an idler at 2264 nm. A high average power PPLN OPO with 36 % conversion efficiency and 47 % slope efficiency is reported. Operation very close to degeneracy at 2128 nm with the narrowband signal and idler peaks separated by 0.6 nm was demonstrated in a PPKTP OPO. Both the signal at 2008 nm and the combined signal and idler around 2128 nm from the PPKTP OPOs have been used to show efficient pumping of a ZGP OPO. The maximum conversion efficiency from 1 µm to the mid-IR demonstrated is 7 % with a slope efficiency of 10 %. This is not quite as high as what has been presented by other authors, but the experiments reported here have not shown the optimum efficiency of the new scheme. Relatively simple improvements are expected to give a significant increase in conversion efficiency.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Kungliga Tekniska högskolan

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Physics; nonlinear optics; optical parametric oscillators; quasi-phase matching; mid-infrared; linewidth narrowing; volume Bragg gratings.

ISBN:978-91-7178-552-7

Date of Publication:01/01/2007

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