Plasmonic Anisotropic Silver Nanoparticles for Ultrafast Fiber Lasers

Vittorio Scardaci
Marcello Condorelli;Giuseppe Compagnini;

Plasmonic nanoparticles are continuously expanding their range of applications, which now include sensing, catalysis, imaging, nanomedicine, photonics, and optoelectronics, to name a few. Ultrafast lasers also find applications in a wide range of fields like medicine, telecommunications, sensing, materials processing and imaging. The generation of laser pulses requires an element that transforms a laser output into a train of short pulses. This element is called a saturable absorber, which is transparent to high intensity light. Here, we demonstrate the utilization of triangular silver nanoparticles, or nanoplates, as saturable absorbers for the generation of pulses in fiber lasers. The saturable absorption properties are characterized by the z-scan technique, along with other nonlinear optical properties (Fig. 1a). Silver nanoplates are then integrated into a fiber laser ring cavity by means of optical deposition onto an optical fiber connector or embedded within a polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) matrix. Here the non-linear absorption coefficient was first measured by power-dependent transmission measurements (Fig. 1b). Passive Q-switching and mode-locking were achieved in our devices at 1μm and 1.5μm wavelengths. For Q-Switching, we achieved pulse durations of 2μs, repetition rates in the order of 100 kHz and output power in the range of mWs (Fig. 1c,d). For mode-locking, we achieved pulse durations of ~300 ps, repetition rate in the order of 10 MHz and output power in the order of 10 mW. Our results demonstrate the feasibility of silver nanoplates as saturable absorbers in the near IR and as a viable alternative to traditional saturable absorbers
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