Abstract: We explore the long wavelength limit of soliton self-frequency shift in silica-based fibers experimentally and using numerical simulation. We found that the longest wavelength soliton generated by soliton self-frequency shift is approximately 2500 nm because the soliton loses its energy rapidly at wavelength beyond 2400 nm due to material absorption by silica and water. We demonstrate 1580-2520 nm wavelength-tunable, high-pulse energy soliton generation using soliton self-frequency shift in a large-mode-area silica fiber pumped by a compact fiber source. Soliton pulses with pulse width of ~100 fs and pulse energy up to 73 nJ were obtained. Second harmonic generation of the solitons enables a wavelength-tunable femtosecond source from 950 nm to 1260 nm, with pulse energy up to 21 nJ. Using such energetic pulses, we demonstrate in vivo two-photon excited fluorescence imaging of vasculature and neurons in a mouse brain at wavelength beyond the tuning range of a mode-locked Ti:Sapphire lasers.

Authors: Bo Li, Mengran Wang, Kriti Charan, Ming-jun Li, and Chris Xu