Turning nonlinearity from a problem to an advantage in ultrafast fiber lasers
High-peak-intensity ultrafast fiber laser sources are desirable for industrial, defense, and scientific applications. The scientific frontiers of high-power ultrafast fiber systems are developing rapidly due to these demands. In this talk, I will present results from a recent study of a new nonlinear amplification regime based on a dynamically evolving gain-loss spectrum. The evolution of the gain-loss spectrum provides an unexplored degree of freedom that can address two main challenges of ultrashort fiber lasers: 1) management of the high nonlinear phase shifts encountered in stretcher-less amplification systems, and 2) generation of bandwidths much broader than the gain spectrum that can be compressed to clean, sub-40-fs pulses. Finally, I will discuss how the understanding of nonlinear waves can convert nonlinearity from being a limitation to an advantage. Several practical examples and applications of highly nonlinear systems will be presented.