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Ahmad, Izhar (2011): Development of an optically synchronized seed source for a high-power few-cycle OPCPA system. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Physics
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Abstract

The scheme of short-pulse pumped optical parametric chirped-pulse amplification (OPCPA) offers a promising route towards a completely new regime of ultra-high power few-cycle pulse generation, which reaches well beyond the limits of the conventional laser technology. In this approach, the gain bandwidth limitations of conventional laser amplification are circumvented by using thin OPA crystals in a non-collinear pump-signal geometry (NOPA), while the high gain and pulse energies are ensured by the intense pumping and large crystals sizes. The Petawatt-Field-Synthesizer (PFS) project at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany), aims at delivering waveform-controlled few-cycle laser pulses with PW-scale peak power based on few-ps pumped OPCPA. This work focuses on the development of a frontend light source for the PFS system to deliver optically synchronized seed pulses for the OPCPA beam-line and the pump laser. Methods of generating the broadband near-infrared seed pulses for the OPCPA chain by spectral broadening using few-cycle pulses, and idler generation using NOPA are presented. Concepts of stretching both seed pulses, for the pump and the OPCPA, in time and their recompression after amplification are discussed. A detailed experimental and theoretical investigation of timing jitter between the pump and seed pulses in our system is presented. The experimental demonstration of shortpulse-pumped non-collinear OPCPA in a DKDP crystal is presented showing an ultrabroad gain bandwidth in the visible-near infrared, which supports sub-two optical cycle pulse duration.