Advanced experiments with an Erbium doped fiber laser

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Paulo Vicente Marques
Manuel Joaquim Marques
Carla Carmelo Rosa
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This communication describes an optical hands-on fiber laser experiment aimed at advanced college courses. Optical amplifiers and laser sources represent very important optical devices in numerous applications ranging from telecommunications to medicine. The study of advanced photonics experiments is particularly relevant at undergraduate and master level. This paper discusses the implementation of an optical fiber laser made with a cavity built with two tunable Bragg gratings. This scheme allows the students to understand the laser working principles as a function of the laser cavity set-up. One or both of the gratings can be finely tuned in wavelength through applied stress; therefore, the degree of spectral mismatch of the two gratings can be adjusted, effectively changing the cavity feedback. The impact of the cavity conditions on the laser threshold, spectrum and efficiency is analyzed. This experiment assumes that in a previous practice, the students should had already characterized the erbium doped fiber in terms of absorption and fluorescent spectra, and the spectral gain as a function of pump power.