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7 March 2014 Effect of linewidth enhancement factor in actively mode-locked ring laser
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Fundamental performance of the swept-source optical coherence tomography (SS-OCT) system is defined by its wavelength-swept laser. Especially narrower instantaneous spectral linewidth of the laser has the advantage in deeprange tomography. We have demonstrated narrow-linewidth actively mode-locked ring lasers (AMLL), employing anomalous dispersion configuration. The linewidth of an AMLL is determined by anomalous dispersion and self-phase modulation (SPM) in the semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA). For such soliton-like phenomenon of AMLLs, numerical calculation predicts that both of large dispersion and small SPM make the linewidth narrower. Since the dispersion restricts wavelength sweeping range of AMLLs, too large dispersion cannot be used. To weaken the SPM effect, low linewidth enhancement factor α of SOA is desirable. Quantum-dot(QD)-based SOA offers low α-factor in comparison with quantum-well SOA (QWSOA). In this study, we employ a QDSOA as a gain medium in an AMLL and also use a QWSOA for comparison. The wavelength band of the QWSOA-AMLL is 1.5 μm and that of QDSOA-AMLL is 1.0 μm. Since we employed the 10 ps/nm of net dispersion in both configurations, the dispersion parameter β2 for the QDSOA-AMLL is approximately half of that for the QWSOA-AMLL. The measured full-width half-maximum (FWHM) linewidths in a static state were 0.08 nm for the QWSOA-AMLL and 0.04nm for the QDSOA-AMLL. In spite of the small β2 the QDSOA-AMLL achieves narrower spectral than the QWSOA-AMLL. We also confirmed that the interference signal was improved by adopting the QDSOA.
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Akira Takada, Makoto Saika, and Shigenori Nagano "Effect of linewidth enhancement factor in actively mode-locked ring laser", Proc. SPIE 8961, Fiber Lasers XI: Technology, Systems, and Applications, 896135 (7 March 2014);

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