The experiments were enabled by an ultrafast thulium-doped fiber laser delivering 110 fs pulses at high repetition rates, and an argon gas-filled antiresonant hollow-core fiber (ARHCF) with excellent transmission and weak anomalous dispersion, leading to the self-compression of the pulses. We have shown that ARHCFs are well-suited for nonlinear pulse compression around 2 μm wavelength and that this concept features excellent power handling capabilities. Based on this result, we discuss the next steps for energy and average power scaling including upscaling the fiber dimensions in order to fully exploit the capabilities of our laser system, which can deliver several GW of peak power. This way, a 100 W-class laser source with mJ-level few-cycle pulses at 2 μm wavelength is feasible in the near future.
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