The emission wavelength of a laser is physically predetermined by the gain medium used. Consequently, arbitrary wavelength generation is a fundamental challenge in the science of light. Present solutions include optical parametric generation, requiring complex optical setups and spectrally sliced supercontinuum, taking advantage of a simpler fiber technology: a fixed-wavelength pump laser pulse is converted into a spectrally very broadband output, from which the required resulting wavelength is then optically filtered. Unfortunately, this process is associated with an inherently poor noise figure, which often precludes many realistic applications of such supercontinuum sources. Here, we show that by adding only one passive optical element—a tapered photonic crystal fiber—to a fixed-wavelength femtosecond laser, one can in a very simple manner resonantly convert the laser emission wavelength into an ultra-wide and continuous range of desired wavelengths, with very low inherent noise, and without mechanical realignment of the laser. This is achieved by exploiting the double interplay of nonlinearity and chirp in the laser source and chirp and phase matching in the tapered fiber. As a first demonstration of this simple and inexpensive technology, we present a femtosecond fiber laser continuously tunable across the entire red–green–blue spectral range.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics