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3.5-mJ 150-fs Fe:ZnSe hybrid mid-IR femtosecond laser at 4.4 μm for driving extreme nonlinear optics

Ekaterina Migal, Andrey Pushkin, Boris Bravy, Vyacheslav Gordienko, Nikita Minaev, Anatoly Sirotkin, Fedor Potemkin
Optics Letters 2019 May 15, 44 (10): 2550-2553
We report on entering a new era of mid-IR femtosecond lasers based on amplification in a relatively new gain chalcogenide medium, Fe:ZnSe. Our hybrid all-solid-state laser system is based on direct pulse amplification of femtosecond seed from three-stage AGS-based-optical parametric amplification (OPA) in a Fe:ZnSe laser crystal optically pumped by a Cr:Yb:Ho:YSGG Q-switched nanosecond laser. The development of the pump source with output energy up to 90 mJ operating at a 10 Hz repetition rate regime and highly efficient grating compressor (80%) provides 3.5-mJ 150-fs femtosecond pulses centered at 4.4 μm. Diode-pumped Er:YAG/Er:YLF lasers make it possible to increase the beam quality and repetition rate of the proposed laser system up to 100 Hz. Focusing such a laser radiation into the ∼3λ beam diameter allows us to reach a focus laser intensity up to 1016   W/cm2 which is only an order of magnitude lower than a relativistic intensity of 1017   W/cm2 and enough to drive strong nonlinear optics in mid-IR. We show as a proof-of-principle experiment the generation of four-octave spanning (from 350 nm up to 5.5 μm) supercontinuum in xenon.


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