Optical parametric amplification with periodically poled KTiOPO4

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH

Abstract: This thesis explores the use of engineered nonlinear crystals from the KTiOPO4 (KTP) family as the gain material in optical parametric amplifiers (OPAs), with the aim to achieve more knowledge about the benefits and limitations of these devices. The work aims further at extending the possible applications of OPAs by constructing and investigating several efficient and well performing amplifiers.An OPA consists of a strong pump source, which transfers its energy to a weak seed beam while propagating through a nonlinear crystal. The crystals employed in this work are members of the KTP family, which are attractive due to their large nonlinear coefficients, high resistance to damage and wide transparency range. The flexibility of OPAs with respect to different wavelength regions and pulse regimes was examined by employing various dissimilar seed and pump sources.The possibility to adapt an OPA to a specific pump and seed wavelength and achieve efficient energy conversion between the beams, originates from quasi-phasematching, which is achieved in periodically poled (PP) nonlinear crystals. Quasi-phasematched samples can be obtained by changing the position of certain atoms in a ferroelectric crystal and thereby reversing the spontaneous polarisation.In this thesis several material properties of PP crystals from the KTP family were examined. The wavelength and temperature dispersion of the refractive index were determined for PP RbTiOPO4, which is essential for future use of this material. Another experiment helped to increase the insight into the volumes close to domain walls in PP crystalsFurther, several OPAs were built and their ability to efficiently amplify the seed beam without changing its spectral or spatial properties was studied. Small signal gains of up to 55 dB and conversion efficiencies of more than 35 % were achieved for single pass arrangements employing 8 mm long PPKTP crystals. Apart from constructing three setups, which generated powerful nanosecond, picosecond and femtosecond pulses, the possibility to amplify broadband signals was investigated. An increase of the OPA bandwidth by a factor of approximately three was achieved in a noncollinear configuration.