We report on the observation and experimental characterization of backward power fluctuations with the temporal characteristics of transverse mode instability (TMI). A quasi-monolithic, counter-pumped amplifier system in 20/400 μm geometry was developed to investigate forward and backward propagating core- and cladding power as well as their temporal evolution. By experimentally observing the backward propagating core power on a photodiode, we can correlate the temporal traces to those in forward direction. The degree of correlation is found to be highly increased above the TMI threshold. Simultaneous investigations on the modal content in forward and backward direction were enabled by a free-space optical coupling between the first and second amplification stage and performed utilizing a high-speed camera (HSC). In the case of TMI mode content fluctuations are found to occur only in forward direction. Additionally, the evaluations reveal a varying core power content in both directions. The forward core power fluctuations are shown to be induced by the partial coupling of higher-order mode (HOM) content to the cladding. Meanwhile the backward core power fluctuations appear to be a consequence of the ones in forward direction induced by backreflections. Our measurements demonstrate the detection of TMI at various amplifier positions and could be helpful for scientific as well as industrial applications.
The analysis of TMI has advanced over the last decade, with added observation parameters depending on the complexity of the experimental system. Increasing levels of information have been extracted, from camera images in the beginning over modal decomposition, time trace and frequency analysis, on towards bi directional measurements at multiple system positions and separation of spectral components. We will give an overview of the evolution of TMI analysis for different model systems and discuss the applicability and the additional insight that can be gained from advanced observation methods.
Nonlinear effects and transverse mode instabilities (TMI) limit power scaling of single-mode fiber lasers. To overcome these limitations not only the fiber design but also laser relevant properties of the actively doped material itself need to be optimized. By being able to fabricate Yb-doped fibers for high power applications in-house, we have direct access to laser relevant material parameters.We fabricated fibers using three different co-doping systems, namely Yb:Al:P, Yb:Al:F, and Yb:Al:F:Ce. Afterwards we characterized and compared their laser relevant properties. All three co-doping systems showed nearly identical background losses and absorption cross-sections. In contrast, we found that the PD losses and the factor between PD losses @633nm and the laser wavelength range (1μm) to be significantly different. The retrieved characterization results were implemented into our simulations tool in order to improve the reliability of predictions. Finally, we characterized the fibers in kW-amplifier setups according to their power scaling limits, especially the TMI threshold. This cycle of fiber fabrication, characterization, and simulation enabled us to identify the impact of individual fiber parameters on the TMI threshold. We demonstrated that the impact of PD loss leads to a reductions of the TMI threshold for Yb:Al:F co-doping system of 13% to 23% (depending on the Yb-concentration). The PD loss for the two other systems was proved to be significantly lower and was found to have no impact on the TMI threshold. We experimentally proved that your in-house Yb:Al:P and Yb:Al:F:Ce fibers performed like PD-free fibers.
Supported by both experimental and simulated results, this contribution demonstrates the heat load distribution in a co-pumped, ytterbium (Yb)-doped fiber amplifier seeded with two different wavelengths can be significantly changed depending on the seed power ratio. Longitudinal temperature measurements in a Yb-doped 10.5 m 20/400 μm fiber confirm a significant shift of the heat load maximum by 3.5 m towards the fiber output when decreasing the seed power ratio from P1030nm/P1080nm = 1.7 to 20. In single-tone operation with a seed power of P1080nm = 3.5 W, the amplifier is limited by the onset of transverse mode instabilities at a power-level of 1950 W. However, dual-tone seeding with a seed power ratio up to P1030nm/P1080nm = 10 reduces the TMI-threshold dramatically down to 1050 W. Additionally we show, that the modal instability threshold is very susceptible to 1030 nm seed noise in the frequency regime up to 10 kHz.
We investigated the limitations in output power generated by a high power narrow-linewidth Raman fiber amplifier. The pump was produced by a kW-level all-fiber Yb-doped amplifier emitting at 1060 nm, whose seed linewidth could be changed. The Raman seed was a narrow-linewidth signal at 1110 nm co-propagating with the laser at 1060 nm. The main Raman conversion occurred in the passive fiber at the amplifier output. We identified cross-phase modulation (XPM) as a main reason for broadening of the Raman light by using different pump sources, which is a first limitation. An improved setup was limited at approximately 600 W of Stokes output power by a threshold-like onset of a transverse mode instability. Since the instability was not observed without a Stokes seed and the temperatures of the active fiber with and without Stokes seed are equal, this constitutes the first direct observation of transverse mode instabilities (TMI) induced by SRS in a passive fiber.
We present and compare the performance of bidirectionally pumped Yb-doped monolithic amplifier and oscillator setups in 20/400 μm geometry tested up to signal powers of 3.5 kW and 5 kW without the occurrence of transverse mode instabilities and maintaining a single mode beam quality of M2 ~ 1.3. The scaling was primarily limited by the nonlinear effect of Stimulated Raman Scattering. This contribution contains detailed analysis of the temporal and spectral behavior of both configurations. The results show the excellent feasibility of monolithic oscillators and FBG for high power operation, even outperforming the amplifier pendant in terms of output power.
With their advantages like good beam quality, easy thermal management, high robustness and compact size, fiber lasers are one of the most promising solid state laser concepts for high power scaling with excellent beam quality. One issue of further power scaling is the reduction of nonlinear effects, especially Raman scattering, which consequently led to increased mode field areas. However, for large mode area fibers, new challenges, namely transversal mode instabilities (TMI) have to be taken into account. Beside our investigations in the power scaling of ytterbium doped fiber amplifiers up to 4.4kW output power, we present our investigations of the TMI threshold in dependence on bend diameter and absorption length of a well-known, commercial fiber. Within this scope, we used a 13m piece of the fiber and gradually reduced the bend diameter from 60cm slightly below 14cm within a pump wavelength of 976nm. Furthermore, we increased the fiber length to 30 m, presuming the bend diameter of 14 cm and all experimental conditions. However, in a next step, we detuned the pump wavelength up to 980 nm in order to increase the pump absorption length As a result, we achieved 2.9kW of single mode output at a bend diameter of 14cm. The 4.4kW result was obtained with a separately manufactured low-NA fiber, allowing for a slope efficiency of 90% with regards to the absorbed pump light and an extremely temporal stability.
We present the fabrication and properties of active fiber laser materials fabricated by a newly developed solution doping technique. The contribution focusses on Aluminum, Phosphorus, Ytterbium as well as Boron doped SiO2 for the use as fiber laser material. More specifically low doping concentration in the vicinity of the molar ratio of Al2O3:P2O5 = 1:1 will be elucidated. The effect of fabrication parameters on optical properties like refractive index, absorption and emission properties will be covered. Currently it is possible to achieve cw output powers greater than 4 kW using Al, P, Yb doped fibers fabricated with this method. Fibers additionally codoped with Boron are as well suitable for kW class applications as well.