Abstract

We report on the design and characterization of a short-pulse-pumped, single-stage noncollinear optical parametric amplifier (NOPA) that achieves high pulse energies in the few-cycle pulse regime. Optimal pulse-front tilting and temporal compression of the short (35 fs) pump pulse are achieved using a 4f grating compressor, while spatial chirp at the NOPA crystal is eliminated with proper imaging using a pair of reflective telescopes. Gas-phase filamentation in an open-ended argon-filled cell provides a bright, stable seed source with little residual chirp that is suitable for temporal overlap with the short pump pulse without dispersion precompensation. Two seeding geometries are explored, and pulses as short as 3.5 fs are obtained by seeding with the entire filament bandwidth. Fourier-transform-limited 4 fs pulses are obtained by filtering the IR portion of the spectrum.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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