Generation of 10 to 50 fs pulses tunable through all of the visible and the NIR
Noncollinearly phase-matched optical parametric amplifiers (NOPAs) pumped by the blue light of a frequency-doubled Ti:sapphire regenerative amplifier are a convenient source of continuously tunable ultrashort pulses in the visible and near infrared for spectroscopic experiments. We present the underlying principles, report recent improvements and describe the experiences gained from the routine use of a number of NOPAs in our laboratories. We find that the setup can easily be optimized for the given experimental requirements. Typical output-pulse energies in the visible are 5 to 10 μJ and a few μJ in the NIR from 200 μJ regenerative-amplifier pulses at 800 nm. From 460 to 700 nm, pulse lengths between 10 and 20 fs are routinely achieved, while the length increases monotonically from about 20 fs at 900 nm to just below 50 fs at 1600 nm. In all cases this corresponds to a dramatic shortening compared to the length of the pump pulses of around 100 fs. First results show that the 700 to 900 nm region can be accessed with sub-50-fs pulse lengths by use of an intermediate white-light generator in a two-stage setup.
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