Intense few-cycle visible pulses directly generated via nonlinear fibre mode mixing


Extremely short, high-energy pulses are essential in modern ultrafast science. In a seminal paper in 19961, Nisoli and co-workers demonstrated the first intense pulse compression employing a gas-filled hollow-core fibre. Despite the huge body of scientific work on this technology stemming from ultrafast and attosecond research, here we identify an unexplored few-cycle visible-light generation mechanism, which relies on the nonlinear mixing of hollow-core fibre modes. Using a commercially available ytterbium laser, we generate 4.6 fs, 20 μJ pulses centred at around 600 nm (~2 cycles, ~4 GW peak power), ~40 times shorter than the input 175 fs, 1 mJ pulses at 1,035 nm. Our approach thus directly projects few-hundred-femtosecond-long infrared pulses into the single-cycle regime at visible frequencies, without the need for additional post-compression. As a powerful application of our findings, we present a compact, multicolour pump–probe set-up with a temporal resolution of a few optical cycles.

Nature Photonics 15 884 (2021)
John C. Travers
John C. Travers
Professor of Physics