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Characterization of supercontinuum process pumped by amplified


dissipative solitons
To cite this article before publication: B Ibarra-Escamilla et al 2019 Phys. Scr. in press https://doi.org/10.1088/1402-4896/ab080a

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Characterization of supercontinuum

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dissipative solitons

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15 B. IBARRA-ESCAMILLA,1 H. SANTIAGO-HERNÁNDEZ,5 L. A. RODRIGUEZ-
16 MORALES,1 I. ARMAS-RIVERA,1 O. POTTIEZ,2 M. DURÁN-SÁNCHEZ,1,3 G.
17 BELTRAN-PÉREZ,4 M. V. HERNÁNDEZ-ARRIAGA,6 AND E. A. KUZIN1*
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19 1Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica (INAOE), L. E. Erro 1, Sta. Ma. Tonantzintla,
20 Pue. 72824, México

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21 2Centro de Investigaciones en Óptica (CIO), Loma del Bosque 115, Col. Lomas del Campestre, León,

22 Gto. 37150, México


23 3CONACYT-Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica, A. P. 51 y 216, CP 72000, Puebla,

24 Pue., México.
4Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Facultad de Ciencias Físico Matemáticas Avenida San
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26 Claudio y 18 Sur, Col. San Manuel CU Puebla 72570, México.
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Universidad de Guadalajara, Departamento de Electrónica, Av. Revolución 1500, Guadalajara, Jalisco, 44840, Mexico.
6Instituto Tecnológico Superior de Rioverde, Carretera Rioverde-San Ciro Km 4.5, Rioverde, SLP

79610, México
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E-mail: ekuz@inaoep.mx
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Abstract
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34 We report an experimental study of the supercontinuum (SC) generated by molecules of
35 solitons (MS) and noise-like pulses (NLP) and their dependence on pump power in two
36 different types of optical fibers: 500m of standard fiber (SMF-28, Corning) and 100m of
37 High-Nonlinearity Fiber with a zero dispersion-slope (HNLF-ZS, Furukawa). Our results
38 show a more complex dependence of the SC spectra on pump power for the MS than for the
39 NLP used for pump. We attribute such differences to soliton fission of MS whereas this
40 process is already done within the NLP. We use a nonlinear optical loop mirror (NOLM)
41 connected to the output of the fiber under test to evaluate the amplitude of ultrashort pulses
42 which compose SC and found that amplitude is changed strongly throughout the spectrum.
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The NOLM suppresses pulses with low peak power, this is especially pronounced for
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wavelengths longer than ~1750 nm for both fibers, and in the region between 1450 nm and
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1640 nm for the High-Nonlinearity fiber.
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Keywords: Supercontinuum generation; Lasers, fiber; Pulse propagation and temporal solitons.
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52 order solitons (HOS) that makes quite complicated the


53 1. Introduction dynamic of the SC generation [1,2]. SC generation is of great
54 interest due to its potential application in many areas [3-8]. As
Supercontinuum generation is a process that allows the a rule, SC is generated using a pump with wavelength around
55 emission of broadband spectrum with bandwidth many times
56 1 m. However, pumping in the 1.55 m region allows the
wider than the spectrum of the pumping light. SC generation
extension of SC beyond 2 m, which is important for some
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57 involves multiple nonlinear phenomena such as self-phase


applications [9]. Mostly special fibers are employed for SC
58 modulation (SPM), cross-phase modulation (XPM),
generation in this spectral region as photonic crystal fiber
59 stimulated Raman scattering (SRS), four-wave mixing
made of lead-bismuth-galate glass [10], sapphire fibers [11],
60 (FWM), modulation instability (MI) and fission of higher-

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3 fluoride fibers [12], and ZBLAN glass fibers [13]. SC sources azimuth). The detailed operation of the laser and properties of
4 based on silica glass fibers compatible with telecom the pulses were discussed in detail in [38]. In particular for the
5 technology are especially attractive, offering simplicity, stable present investigations we used MS and NLP.
6 design, compactness, and reliability. In silica glass fibers the
7 spectral broadening is limited by strong material absorption in
8 the mid-infrared region, however SC generation with long

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9 wavelength edge of ~2.6 µm was demonstrated [14-19], this
10 band is interesting for LIDAR systems, optical coherence
11 tomography or chemical sensing and microscopy [4,20].
12 Besides the nonlinear medium, another vital component
13 for SC generation is the pump source. The properties of light

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14 interacting with the nonlinear medium determine the SC
15 properties. In the case of continuous-wave pumping, the
efficiency of spectral broadening is much lower than in the
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case of pulses [1,2], therefore SC is generated typically using
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high-intensity femtosecond pulses [21] and can also be
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produced easily by nanosecond pulses [22,23]. On the other
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hand, a considerable variety of pulse shapes, named
20 dissipative solitons, generated by passively mode-locked fiber

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21 lasers have been demonstrated [24]. Mostly the dissipative
22 solitons were not investigated for SC generation. One
Fig. 1. Three sections of experimental setup: 1.- Er/Yb amplifier,
23 2.- fiber under test, and 3.- nonlinear optical loop mirror (NOLM).
exception is noise-like pulses (NLPs) [25-27], which were
24 successfully used for SC generation and allow the generation
25 The experimental setup consists of three sections: an Er/Yb
of wider and flatter spectra [28-31].
26 Depending on the application, the required properties of double-cladding fiber amplifier, the test fibers, and a NOLM
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SC light can vary considerably [9]. Therefore, it is vital to
know the properties of the different SC sources. The typical
methods of experimental studies, like measuring optical
an that we used to evaluate the relative peak power of the SC
components. The amplifier includes a 3-m long Er/Yb double-
clad fiber (CorActive DFC-EY-10/128). The Er/Yb fiber is
30 spectra and scope traces, provide only partial information of pumped at 976nm through a beam combiner. Two optical
31 the SC properties. The precise characterization of a SC is a isolators ensure unidirectional amplifier operation. The
32 difficult task, considering fast (shot-to-shot) variations, and an amplifier output port is spliced with a 90/10 coupler, the 10%
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33 extreme complexity with a very fine inner structure of the port of this coupler is spliced with a 99/01 coupler to analyze
34 pulses. A noticeable effort to tackle the issue was reported in at the same time the spectral and temporal properties of the
35 [32], where by using cross-correlation frequency-resolved pulses at Output-1 and Output-2, respectively. The 90% port
36 optical gating it was shown that the fine structure does exist is spliced with one of the fibers under test which were a 500m
37 on a single-shot basis but washes out when many shots are
standard fiber (Corning SMF-28) and 100m High-
38 averaged. This study shows for the first time experimental
evidence of a fine structure in the SC spectrum that had been Nonlinearity Fiber with a zero-dispersion slope (Furukawa
39 HNLF-ZS). Following the test fiber, a 99/01 coupler provides
predicted by numerical simulations [33,34]. Recently several
40 the output SC through its 1% port, labeled as Output-3. The
studies of the fine structure of SC spectra were published [35-
41 99% port is connected to a polarization-imbalanced NOLM
37].
42 In this work we present a comparative investigation of SC [39]. The NOLM was used to obtain information on the SC
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generation in standard and high-nonlinearity fibers using as inner structure. The NOLM is formed by a 50/50 coupler, a
44 the pump NLPs and molecules of solitons (MS). In addition to polarization controller (PC) and two 10m length pieces of
45 the conventional measurement of spectra we used a nonlinear standard fiber twisted in opposite directions (right hand and
46 optical loop mirror to characterize the peak power of the left hand) with twist rate of 7 turns/m. The PC was adjusted
47 pulses which constitute the SC. for minimum transmission at low input power (when the
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Er/Yb amplifier is operated at low pump power and without
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pulses). The NOLM operation depends on the polarization of
50 2. Experimental setup
51 light, however this was not a problem in our case because the
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52 The experimental setup for the study of SC generation is SC was depolarized.


53 illustrated in Fig. 1. A strict polarization-controlled passively
54 mode-locked Er-doped fiber laser (EDFL) emitting MS or 3. Results and discussions
55 NLP at ~1562nm was used as the pump. An important 3.1 Amplification of pump pulses
56 property of this laser is that we can select the operation mode The average power at the amplifier output as a function of
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57 by specific, well defined polarization settings (ellipticity and pump power is shown in Fig. 2(a). To check the influence of
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3 the amplifier we measured waveforms and spectra at the
4 output of the amplifier. We have found that the waveforms are
5 not changed for pump powers between 0.1 W and 12 W. As
6 an example, Fig. 2(b) shows the waveforms of MS (top) and
7 NLP (bottom) at 12-W pump power.
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powers: (a) 1-W (solid line) and 3-W (dashed line); (b) 6-W (solid
line), and 12-W (dashed line).
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31 Figure 4 shows the spectra of NLPs at the output of the
32 amplifier for amplifier pump powers ranging from 1 W to 12
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33 W. The FWHM bandwidth increases from ~8 nm for 1-W
34 Fig. 2. (a) Average power at output of Er/Yb amplifier. (b) pump power to 28 nm for 12-W pump power.
35 Waveforms at the amplifier output of MS (top) and NLP (bottom).
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37 In contrast to the waveforms, the spectra change significantly
38 as the pumping power of the amplifier increases. Figure 3(a)
39 shows the MS spectra at 1 W (solid line) and 3 W (dashed line)
40 of amplifier pump power. The spectra show some changes in
41 the intensity of Kelly side bands and similar spectra in the
42 central part with a full width at half maximum (FWHM) of ~4
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nm. However, at higher pump power the changes become


44 considerable, as shown in Fig. 3(b), where a huge
45 amplification of sidebands is observed, and a FWHM spectral
46 bandwidth of ~58 nm is reached, suggesting some effect of MI
47 and Raman self-frequency shift.
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51 Fig. 4. Spectra of NLPs at the output of amplifier for several pump
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52 power values: solid line – 1 W, dashed line – 6 W, dotted line – 12


53 W
54 Figure 5 shows the evolution of the spectrum at the amplifier
55 output with the increase of the amplifier pump power. Fig. 5(a)
56 depicts a complicated dependence of the spectrum for the MS,
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3 of the spectrum and some components that are progressively extending between 1594 nm and 1936 nm with fluctuations of
4 blue- and red-shifted as pump power increases. In contrast, the 5 dB. At -20 dB level the spectrum reaches 1973 nm.
5 NLP spectrum displays a smooth evolution. Fig.5 shows that
6 the process of SC formation starts in the amplifier, before
7 entering into the fiber under test.
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30 Fig. 6. SC spectra at the output of the 500-m long SMF-28 fiber
31 pumped by the MS. (a) SC Spectra at some values of amplifier pump
32 power, and (b) density plot.
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34 Fig. 5. Density plot of the spectra at the amplifier output for: (a) the The spectra for three particular values of pump power and the
MS and (b) the NLP. density pot are presented in Fig. 6. The initial stage of
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36 amplification is dominated by approximately symmetrical
Experiments on SC generation were performed by launching
37 the amplified dissipative solitons into the two different types
spectral broadening, which occurs in the range of 0.1 W to
38 of optical fiber separately. We compared the evolution of the
0.77 W of pump power. However, for higher power the
39 SC spectra with the increase of the pump power when the MS
spectral broadening is strongly asymmetric. The asymmetric
40 and the NLP were used. The study of the SC inner structure
broadening is associated with a continuous redshift of the
41 long-wavelength components. We can see also that the
for both types of pump pulses is performed using the NOLM.
42 spectral components do not depict a monotonous evolution
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with the increase of pump power.


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45 3.2 The dependence on pump power of the SC spectra The NOLM connected at the end of the test fiber allows a
46 at the output of the 500-m standard fiber. qualitative estimation of the peak power of the components
47 which constitute the SC spectrum. Figures 7(a) and 7(b) show
The first set of experiments was realized using the 500-m long
48 the spectra before and after the NOLM for 6 W and 12 W of
49 standard fiber. The spectra of the SC generated by MS amplifier pump power, respectively. In Fig. 7(a) the
50 amplified at several pump power values are depicted in Fig. amplitudes were scaled to have the peak of ~1600 nm equal to
51 5(a). At 3-W pump power we see a strong peak centered at
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one for both spectra. We can see that the short-wavelength


52 1655 nm with a 3-dB bandwidth of 30 nm. The increase of the segment of the spectrum, for wavelengths shorter than
53 pump power results in the red-shift of the peak and at 6-W approximately 1580 nm is composed of relatively low-power
54 pump power we see two peaks at 1785 and 1623 nm. The 3- components which correspond to the remaining of the pump
55 dB bandwidths are 36 and 25 nm for the 1785-nm and 1623- pulse. The long-wavelength part of the spectrum, for
56 nm peaks respectively. The peaks are separated by a deep wavelengths longer than approximately 1770 nm is also
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57 valley of -15 dB. Further increase of the pump power makes composed of low-power components, which is expected
58 the spectra smoother and at 12 W we obtain a spectrum
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3 because of increased fiber losses in this region. An interesting at any pump power. We attribute such complex evolution of
4 feature is observed in the region between 1620 nm and 1670 the SC generated by the MS to the soliton fission phenomenon
5 nm where the spectrum is composed of high-power [3], which does not take place when the NLP propagates
6 components, however the average power in this region lies through the fiber because this process is already over within
7 approximately 15 dB below the average power at 1600 nm. In the internal structure of NLPs. However, in both cases the SC
8 Fig. 6(b), at 12 W pump power we observe similar spectra present a notable maximum at ~1560 nm. This

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9 characteristics of the SC. The short-wavelength region is maximum is composed of low-power components and can be
10 composed of low-power components, the region between suppressed by the NOLM as shown in Fig. 9.
11 1620 nm and 1670 nm is composed of high-power
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components, and peak powers decrease abruptly for
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wavelengths longer than approximately 1720 nm. It is

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interesting to note that, whereas the long-wavelength edge of
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the spectrum at the 500-m fiber output shifts from 1860 nm to
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1980 nm (measured as 10-2 of maximum) when the pump
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19 output remains at the same wavelength equal to 1805 nm
20 measured at 20 dB.

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34 Fig. 8. SC spectra at the output of the 500-m standard fiber pumped
35 by the NLP. (a) SC Spectra at some values of amplifier pump power
36 , and (b) density plot.
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38 Similarly to the case of pumping with the MS, we compared
39 the spectra of SC at the fiber output and NOLM output. Figure
40 9 presents the spectra for 1 W, 6 W, and 12 W of amplifier
41 pump power. We see that the NOLM suppresses the part of
42 Fig. 7. Comparison between spectra at the NOLM input (solid line) spectrum close to 1560 nm. It means that most pulses in this
43 wavelength region are of low intensity. This spectral part is
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and output (dashed line) when pumping by MS at different values of


44 pump power: (a) 6 W and (b) 12 W. composed of the residual pump pulses. The part of the
45 spectrum at wavelengths beyond approximately 1800 nm is
Figure 8 shows the development of SC in the same 500-m
46 suppressed as well; pulses in this region have low intensity
fiber under pumping by NLPs. The SC presents a very flat
47 because of fiber attenuation.
region between ~1700 and ~2000 nm with a deviation smaller
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49 than 2 dB for pump powers higher than 3 W. The long-
50 wavelength edge measured at -20 dB of the flat plateau level
51 moves slightly from 2010 nm to 2060 nm as pump power is
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52 increasing. The density plot shown in Fig. 8(b) reveals that all
53 spectral components are progressively and homogenously red-
54 shifted. Moreover, the evolution of the SC spectrum generated
55 by the NLP depicts notable differences in comparison with the
56 evolution of the SC spectrum generated by the MS, as shown
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57 in Fig. 6(b). The development of SC when pumping by the


58 NLP is very smooth without notable maxima in the spectrum
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3 the amplifier and the fiber under test. In contrast, we found a
4 monotonous dependence of the spectrum on pump power for
5 NLPs.
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31 Fig. 10. Average power at the output of the 500-m fiber (a),
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transmission through the fiber (b). Solid lines show the result for
33 MSs, dashed lines – for NLPs.
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35 Figure 10 (a) shows the average power at the output of the
36 500-m fiber against the input power for MS (solid line) and
37 NLPs (dashed line). Figure 10 (b) shows the transmission
38 Fig. 9. Comparison between spectra at the NOLM input and output through the fiber in each case. We can appreciate that under
39 using NLP at different amplifier pump powers of: (a) 1 W, (b) 6 W, MS pumping the average output power increases linearly to
40 and (c) 12 W. ~200 mW with a transmission close to one, drops abruptly to
41 ~120 mW, and then grows with some fluctuations to
42 It is important to note that the SC spectra generated by MSs, approximately 340 mW. The transmission drops in the region
43 see Fig. 6, and NLPs, see Fig. 8, display remarkable
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of input powers between 200 mW and 400 mW from


44 differences in their evolution with the increase of pump power. approximately 1 to 0.3 and then remains approximately
45 However, the study of their inner structure reveals interesting constant. In contrast, the average output power when pumping
46 similarities. In both cases the part of the spectrum close to the by NLPs presents a linear growth up to ~95 mW, then
47 pump wavelength is composed of low-power components, as increases more slowly and eventually reaches ~197mW. The
48 well as the part of the spectrum beyond approximately 1800 transmission decreases smoothly for input powers higher than
49 nm. The components with highest peak powers appear at approximately 150 mW. The decrease in transmission is
50 wavelengths close to 1650 nm. The fine structure near 1800 caused by the increasing attenuation as the pulses are shifted
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nm is probably caused by the molecular resonance of H2O and to the long-wavelength region of the spectrum. Figures 10(a)
52 CO2 [40]. and 10(b) reveal that the SC spectrum evolution is more
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complex when pumping by the MSs than by the NLPs, in
54 Comparing the dependence of the spectrum on the pump
55 power at the amplifier output (Fig. 5) and at the output of the concordance with the density plots of Fig. 6(b) and Fig. 8(b).
56 500-m standard fiber (Fig. 6 and Fig. 8), we found that When pumping by MSs, the transmission shows an abrupt
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57 molecules of solitons present a complicated behavior in both decay at ~0.4 W when a first group of solitons with highest
58 energy reaches longer wavelengths where high attenuation
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3 takes place. The transmission for NLPs shows a smooth region of wavelengths longer than 1750 nm is suppressed as
4 decrease, which indicates that the energy of solitons is well. For high pump power, see Fig. 12(b), we observed
5 distributed uniformly. The maximum energy loss was interesting features, at the NOLM output the short-wavelength
6 measured as 73% and 83% for MS and NLPs respectively. band is significantly higher that the long-wavelength band,
7 suggesting that the short-wavelength band is composed of
8 .
pulses with higher peak power than in the long-wavelength

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9 band. Besides, the short-wavelength band at the NOLM output
3.3 The SC spectrum dependence on pump power at
10 is shifted by 70 nm with respect to the short-wavelength band
the output of the 100-m high nonlinearity fiber.
11 at the NOLM input. This reveals that, within the short-
12 In the second set of experiments we investigated SC formation wavelength band, the shorter wavelengths consist of pulses
13 using the 100-m high nonlinearity fiber. The supercontinuum with higher peak power.

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14 spectra generated by MSs amplified at several amplifier pump
15 power values are depicted in Fig. 11(a). The SC generated at
16 12-W pump power has a bandwidth of ~815 nm, from 1205
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nm to 2020 nm, measured at -20-dB level.
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39 Fig. 12. Comparison between SC spectra at the NOLM input and
40 output using MSs at amplifier pump powers of: (a) 1 W and (b) 12
41 Fig. 11. SC spectrum at the output of the 100-m long HNLF-ZS W.
42 pumped by MS. (a) SC Spectra at some values of pump power of
The SC generated by NLPs amplified at several pump power
43 amplifier, and (b) density plot.
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values are depicted in Fig. 13(a). The SC generated at 12-W


44 Figures 12(a) and 12(b) show the spectra at the NOLM input pump power (grey trace) presents a bandwidth of ~1000 nm
45 and output at relatively low and high pump powers, measured at 10-dB level. The SC spectrum ranges from the
46 respectively. For both figures the spectra were normalized limit of detection (1200 nm) of the optical spectrum analyzer
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with respect to their maxima in the short-wavelength band. (OSA) to ~2190 nm. The left side of the spectrum spanning
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Figure 12(a) shows that the spectrum obtained at relatively from 1200 nm to ~1525 nm and the right side spanning from
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low pump power presents a short-wavelength band (from ~1580 nm to ~2177 nm are flat with deviations of 3 dB.
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~1350 nm to ~1450 nm) and a long-wavelength band (from Between 1525 nm and 1580 nm we see the 10-dB peak. The
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52 ~1630 nm to ~1750 nm), however, both bands are similar at SC evolution as pump power increases is shown in Fig. 13(b)
53 the NOLM input and output. We can conclude that these by the density plot. The figure depicts two maxima at the right
54 sections of the SC are composed of pulses with approximately and left sides of the spectrum that are progressively blue- and
55 the same peak power. At the same time the region of the red-shifted. Besides we can see that the amplitude of the peak
56 spectrum between 1450 nm and 1630 nm is depressed at 1530 nm grows with respect to the rest of the spectrum.
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57 significantly at the NOLM output, which suggests that this


58 region is composed of components with low peak power. The
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Fig. 13. Spectra of SC when pumping by NLPs at several pump
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power values (a); density plot (b).
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Figures 14(a) and 14(b) show the spectra at the NOLM input
and output at relatively low pump power and high pump
an Fig. 14. Comparison between SC spectra at the NOLM input and
output using NLPs at pump powers of: (a) 1 W and (b) 12 W.
power, respectively, when pumping by NLPs. In general, the
30 results of Fig. 14 are like those shown in Fig. 12. For low Figures 15(a) and 15(b) show the average power at the output
31 pump power the regions of low-power components of SC span of the 100-m long HNLF-ZS fiber and the transmission
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from 1450 nm to 1640 nm, and for wavelengths longer than through the fiber for MSs, dashed line, and NLPs, solid line.
33 1740 nm, quite similarly to the case of pumping by MS. For
34 In the case of both MSs and NLPs the output power grows
high pump power we see that the peak power of short- approximately linearly with the input power and reaches
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wavelength components is substantially higher than the peak maxima of 265 mW for MS and 75 mW for NLPs. The
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power of long-wavelength components. transmission decreases abruptly as the input power increases
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38 to approximately 100 mW, and then remains constant. The
39 decrease of the transmission is caused by high attenuation as
40 the spectrum shifts towards longer wavelengths; hence we see
41 that for NLPs the spectrum reaches faster the longer
42 wavelengths where high attenuation takes place. The use of
43
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MSs allows higher output power of SC. The energy losses are
44 of 80% and 95% for the MS and NLPs, respectively.
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3 approximately equal, however for high pump power the
4 amplitudes of long-wavelength pulses become significantly
5 smaller that the amplitudes of the short-wavelength pulses.
6
7
8 Funding

pt
9 Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología project 287315.
10
11
12 References and links
13
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