, Volume 32, Issue 9, pp 1057-1067

Laser-diode-seeded single and double stage femtosecond optical parametric amplification in the mid-infrared

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Tunable mid-infrared pulses are generated with a MgO:LiNbO3-based traveling-wave optical parametric amplifier in single and double stage operation regime pumped by a 1-kHz Ti:sapphire regenerative amplifier system. For the first time to our knowledge a pulsed laser diode is successfully used in the femtosecond regime as a compact seed source at the signal wavelength where the tunability of the generated idler pulses can be realized by tuning the seed wavelength. Almost transform limited mid-infrared pulses as short as 130 and 160 fs with pulse energies as high as 5 and 15 μJ are produced near 3.5 μm by the single and double stage scheme, respectively. The pulse to pulse fluctuations in both cases do not exceed 2% which corresponds to the stability of the pump source.