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Relaxed damage threshold intensity conditions and nonlinear increase in the conversion efficiency of an optical parametric oscillator using a bi-directional pump geometry

Norris, G and McConnell, G (2010) Relaxed damage threshold intensity conditions and nonlinear increase in the conversion efficiency of an optical parametric oscillator using a bi-directional pump geometry. Optics Express, 18 (5). pp. 3993-3999. ISSN 1094-4087

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Abstract

A novel bi-directional pump geometry that nonlinearly increases the nonlinear optical conversion efficiency of a synchronously pumped optical parametric oscillator (OPO) is reported. This bi-directional pumping method synchronizes the circulating signal pulse with two counter-propagating pump pulses within a linear OPO resonator. Through this pump scheme, an increase in nonlinear optical conversion efficiency of 22% was achieved at the signal wavelength, corresponding to a 95% overall increase in average power. Given an almost unchanged measured pulse duration of 260 fs under optimal performance conditions, this related to a signal wavelength peak power output of 18.8 kW, compared with 10 kW using the traditional single-pass geometry. In this study, a total effective peak intensity pump-field of 7.11 GW/cm(2) (corresponding to 3.55 GW/cm(2) from each pump beam) was applied to a 3 mm long periodically poled lithium niobate crystal, which had a damage threshold intensity of 4 GW/cm(2), without impairing crystal integrity. We therefore prove the application of this novel pump geometry provides opportunities for power-scaling of synchronously pumped OPO systems together with enhanced nonlinear conversion efficiency through relaxed damage threshold intensity conditions.