Abstract

The performance of potassium niobate (KNbO3), MgO-doped periodically poled lithium niobate (MgO:PPLN), and potassium titanyl arsenate (KTA) were experimentally compared for broadband mid-wave infrared parametric amplification at a high repetition rate. The seed pulses, with an energy of 6.5 μJ, were amplified using 410 μJ pump energy at 1064 nm to a maximum pulse energy of 28.9 μJ at 3 μm wavelength and at a 160 kHz repetition rate in MgO:PPLN while supporting a transform limited duration of 73 fs. The high average powers of the interacting beams used in this study revealed average power-induced processes that limit the scaling of optical parametric amplification in MgO:PPLN; the pump peak intensity was limited to 3.8GW/cm2 due to nonpermanent beam reshaping, whereas in KNbO3 an absorption-induced temperature gradient in the crystal led to permanent internal distortions in the crystal structure when operated above a pump peak intensity of 14.4GW/cm2.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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