Gain-guided Optical Fiber Laser

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Schematic diagram of a gain guided index antiguided fiber longitudinally-pumped by a fiber-coupled laser diode
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Researchers
Martin Richardson, Ph.D.
Michael Bass, Ph.D.
William Hagemann
Timothy McComb
Vikas Sudesh, Ph.D.
Managed By
John Miner
Assistant Director 407.882.1136
Patent Protection

Waveguide-pumping gain guided index antiguided fiber laser

US Patent 7,668,211 B1
Publications
Diode-Pumped Very Large Core, Gain Guided, Index Antiguided Single Mode Fiber Laser
Advanced Solid-State Photonics, OSA Technical Digest Series (CD) (Optical Society of America, 2009, paper WB3

The invention represents the design of a fiber laser that index-anti-guides by gain-guiding laser light through the core of a fiber that may be up to 500μm in core size. The laser then delivers a single mode, high power laser light through a variety of off axis optical pumping into fiber cladding.

The fabrication of optical fiber, that includes optically amplifying materials, has resulted in the development of fiber lasers. These novel laser systems boast high power potential, thermal and vibration stability, compact size and a very high quality (often diffraction limited) output beam. Also, due to the fact that the light is already contained in an optical fiber, these lasers make it very easy to deliver light where desired. The advancements of fiber lasers have pushed researchers toward new types of fiber that will optimize the size, power, and stability of the output beam, and researchers at UCF have applied a very unique light guiding phenomenon to produce a very attractive new fiber laser.

Technical Details

By employing a process called gain-guiding, light may be guided in regions of a fiber where traditionally, under zero amplification, it would be forbidden to propagate, a process called index-anti-guiding. Shown herein, a fiber with a doped, low index core is used to guide laser light while a higher index cladding region around the core is used to guide laser pump light. The new fiber laser design offers very large spot size operation in the fundamental mode which enables safer high power operation under easy optical pumping conditions.

Benefits

  • Very large single mode spot sizes which are high power safe
  • Easy to pump optically
  • High thermal and vibration stability
  • Fiber can be large and therefore cost effective to produce

Applications

  • Physical research
  • Medical devices
  • Defense potentials