Experimental electric field visualisation of multi-mode dynamics in a short cavity swept laser designed for OCT applications

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Butler, T. P.
Goulding, David
Slepneva, Svetlana
O'Shaughnessy, Ben
Hegarty, Stephen. P.
Huyet, G.
Kelleher, Bryan
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Optical Society of America
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An experimental study into the modal dynamics of a short cavity, fast frequency-swept laser is presented. This commercially available external cavity swept source is designed for use in optical coherence tomography (OCT) applications and displays a number of dynamic lasing regimes during the course of the wavelength sweep. Interferometric full electric field reconstruction is employed, allowing for measurement of the laser operation in a time-resolved, single-shot manner. Recovery of both the phase and intensity of the laser output across the entire sweep enables direct visualization of the laser instantaneous optical spectrum. The electric field reconstruction technique reveals the presence of multi-mode dynamics, including coherent mode-locked pulses. During the main part of the imaging sweep, the laser is found to operate in a second harmonic sliding frequency mode-locking regime. Examination of the modal evolution of this coherent regime reveals evidence of previously unobserved frequency switching dynamics.
Electric field visualisation , Multi-mode dynamics , Optical coherence tomography (OCT) , Fast frequency-swept laser , Wavelength sweep
Butler, T.P., Goulding, D., Slepneva, S., O’Shaughnessy, B., Hegarty, S.P., Huyet, G. and Kelleher, B. (2019) 'Experimental electric field visualisation of multi-mode dynamics in a short cavity swept laser designed for OCT applications'. Optics express, 27(5), pp. 7307-7318 doi:10.1364/OE.27.007307