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Opt Express. 2009 Jun 8;17(12):9947-61.

Dispersion, coherence and noise of Fourier domain mode locked lasers.

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  • 1Lehrstuhl für BioMolekulare Optik, Fakultät für Physik, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany.


We report on the effect of chromatic dispersion on coherence length and noise of Fourier Domain Mode Locked (FDML) lasers. An FDML laser with a sweep range of 100 nm around 1550 nm has been investigated. Cavity configurations with and without dispersion compensation have been analyzed using different widths of the intra-cavity optical band-pass filter. The measurements are compared to non-FDML wavelength swept laser sources. Based on these observations, a simple model is developed providing a connection between timing, photon cavity lifetime and characteristic time constant of the filter. In an optimized configuration, an instantaneous laser linewidth of 20 pm is observed, corresponding to a 10x narrowing compared to the intra-cavity optical bandpass filter. A relative intensity noise of -133 dBc/Hz or 0.2% at 100 MHz detection bandwidth during sweep operation is observed. For optimum operation, the filter drive frequency has to be set within 2 ppm or 120 mHz at 51 kHz.

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