Adaptive shaping of two-cycle visible pulses using a flexible mirror
We present a double-pass non-collinear optical parametric amplifier (NOPA) that delivers 4-fs visible–near-infrared pulses. The paper discusses geometrical and temporal properties of the NOPA configuration, which allow us to broaden the gain band of simultaneous parametric amplification in excess of 250 THz. The key elements of the bandwidth enhancement include (i) the use of a broadband second-harmonic pump, (ii) optimization of the incidence angle of all monochromatic spectral components of the pump in order to produce a favorable offset of the corresponding phase-matching curves, and (iii) selection of the chirp rate and time delay between the stretched pump and seed pulses. We next devise a two-stage compressor that incorporates a flexible mirror for adaptive pulse shaping and develop a simple and trustworthy feedback loop based on a one-dimensional spectral measurement. Our rapid numerical algorithm for adaptive control of the flexible membrane is found superior to more complex search routines that are less resistant to the fluctuations of the laser intensity. The automated optimization procedure results in the generation of two-cycle pulses with a carrier wavelength at ∼600 nm. The absence of deep modulation on the parametrically amplified spectrum in combination with the adaptive phase correction lead to a high quality of the temporal profile and allow concentrating 90% of the pulse energy within only a 7.5-fs time window.
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