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Chin. Phys. B, 2012, Vol. 21(5): 054213    DOI: 10.1088/1674-1056/21/5/054213

Generation of broadly tunable picosecond mid-infrared laser and sensitive detection of a mid-infrared signal by parametric frequency up-conversion in MgO:LiNbO3 optical parametric amplifiers

Zhang Qiu-Lin(张秋琳)a), Zhang Jing(张静)a), Qiu Kang-Sheng(邱康生)a), Zhang Dong-Xiang(张东香)a), Feng Bao-Hua(冯宝华)a)†, and Zhang Jing-Yuan(张景园)b)
a. Beijing National Laboratory for Condensed Matter Physics, Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China;
b. Department of Physics, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA 30460, USA
Abstract  Picosecond optical parametric generation and amplification in the near-infrared region within 1.361--1.656 μm and the mid-infrared region within 2.976--4.875 μm is constructed on the basis of bulk MgO:LiNbO3 crystals pumped at 1.064 μm. The maximum pulse energy reaches 1.3 mJ at 1.464 μm and 0.47 mJ at 3.894 μm, corresponding to a pump-to-idler photon conversion efficiency of 25%. By seeding the hard-to-measure mid-infrared radiation as the idler in the optical parametric amplification and measuring the amplified and frequency up-converted signal in the near-infrared or even visible region, one can measure very week mid-infrared radiation with ordinary detectors, which are insensitive to mid-infrared radiation, with a very high gain. A maximum gain factor of about 7× 107 is achieved at the mid-infrared wavelength of 3.374 μm and the corresponding energy detection limit is as low as about 390 aJ per pulse.
Keywords:  optical parametric amplifiers      picoseconds mid-infrared laser      sensitive detection  
Received:  14 December 2011      Revised:  27 April 2012      Accepted manuscript online: 
PACS:  42.65.-k (Nonlinear optics)  
  42.65.Yj (Optical parametric oscillators and amplifiers)  
Fund: Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 61078005), the National Basic Research Program of China (Grant No. 2007CB613205), and the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation

Cite this article: 

Zhang Qiu-Lin(张秋琳), Zhang Jing(张静), Qiu Kang-Sheng(邱康生), Zhang Dong-Xiang(张东香), Feng Bao-Hua(冯宝华), and Zhang Jing-Yuan(张景园) Generation of broadly tunable picosecond mid-infrared laser and sensitive detection of a mid-infrared signal by parametric frequency up-conversion in MgO:LiNbO3 optical parametric amplifiers 2012 Chin. Phys. B 21 054213

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