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Synthesis of a single cycle of light with compact erbium-doped fibre technology


The advent of self-referenced optical frequency combs1,2 has sparked the development of novel areas in ultrafast sciences such as attosecond technology3,4 and the synthesis of arbitrary optical waveforms5,6. Few-cycle light pulses are key to these time-domain applications, driving a quest for reliable, stable and cost-efficient mode-locked laser sources with ultrahigh spectral bandwidth. Here, we present a set-up based entirely on compact erbium-doped fibre technology, which produces single cycles of light. The pulse duration of 4.3 fs is close to the shortest possible value for a data bit of information transmitted in the near-infrared regime. These results demonstrate that fundamental limits for optical telecommunications are accessible with existing fibre technology and standard free-space components.

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Figure 1: Set-up of a single-cycle fibre laser system.
Figure 2: Spectra and time traces of the pulses generated by the two separate branches.
Figure 3: Fringe-resolved second-order autocorrelations for different time delays Δt between dispersive wave and soliton.
Figure 4: Characterization of the synthesized single-cycle pulse.
Figure 5: Sensitivity of the fringe-resolved autocorrelation to Δt and Δϕ.


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Authors and Affiliations



A.L., G.K., S.L., A.S. and R.H. conceived the experiment, and together with T.H. and S.E. carried it out; G.K., S.L., A.L. and A.S. designed and carried out the data analysis; G.K., S.L., R.H. and A.L. co-wrote the paper.

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Correspondence to Alfred Leitenstorfer.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Krauss, G., Lohss, S., Hanke, T. et al. Synthesis of a single cycle of light with compact erbium-doped fibre technology. Nature Photon 4, 33–36 (2010).

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