Cascaded crystalline Raman lasers for extended wavelength coverage : continuous-wave, third-Stokes operation

Casula, Riccardo and Penttinen, Jussi-Pekka and Guina, Mircea and Kemp, Alan J. and Hastie, Jennifer E. (2018) Cascaded crystalline Raman lasers for extended wavelength coverage : continuous-wave, third-Stokes operation. Optica, 5 (11). pp. 1406-1413. ISSN 1899-7015

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    Abstract

    The development of high power laser sources with narrow emission, tunable within the water transmission window around 1.7 μm, is of interest for applications as diverse as medical imaging and atmospheric sensing. Where suitable laser gain media are not available, operation in this spectral region is often achieved via nonlinear frequency conversion, and optical parametric oscillators (OPOs) are a common solution. A practical alternative to OPOs, to avoid birefringent- or quasi-phase-matching requirements, is the use of stimulated Raman scattering within a suitable material to convert a pump source to longer wavelengths via one or more Stokes shifts; however, as this is a χ(3) nonlinear process, such frequency conversion is usually the preserve of high energy pulsed lasers. Semiconductor disk lasers (SDLs) on the other hand have very high finesse external resonators, suitable for efficient intracavity nonlinear conversion even in continuous-wave (CW) operation. Here we report the first continuous-wave third-Stokes crystalline Raman laser and the longest emission wavelength from an SDL-pumped Raman laser, achieving high power, CW output and broad wavelength tuning around 1.73 μm. The KGW Raman laser, which was intracavity-pumped by a 1.18 μm InGaAs-based SDL, demonstrated cascaded CW Stokes oscillation at 1.32, 1.50 μm, and 1.73 μm with Watt-level output achievable at each wavelength. The 1.73-μm Stokes emission was diffraction limited (M2 <1.01) and narrow linewidth (<46 pm FWHM; measurement limited). By rotation of a birefringent filter placed within the fundamental resonator, we attained three tuneable emission wavelength bands, one centred at each Stokes component, and achieved up to 65 nm tuning for the third-Stokes Raman laser from 1696 – 1761 nm. We have thus demonstrated a platform laser technology that takes well-developed InGaAs-based SDLs and provides spectral coverage and high performance in the near-infrared water transmission windows using commercially available components.