A mode-locked Tm3+-doped fibre laser and amplifier operating at a central wavelength of 1994.3 nm is demonstrated. A thulium oscillator is passively mode-locked by a semiconductor saturable absorber mirror to generate an average power of 17 mW at a fundamental repetition rate of 81 MHz in a short linear cavity. This 2-mm laser train is amplified to an average power to 20.26 W by two double-clad thulium-doped allfibre amplifiers. The pulse energy, duration and peak power is 250 nJ, 23 ps and 9.57 kW, respectively. This represents one of the highest values of average power at #24; 2-mm-wavelength for picosecond thulium-doped fibre lasers and amplifiers. The performance of the laser system is described in details.
The paper deals with spectral and lasing characteristics of thulium-doped optical fibers fabricated by means of two doping techniques, i.e. via a conventional solution-doping method and via a nanoparticle-doping method. The difference in fabrication was the application of a suspension of aluminum oxide nanoparticles of defined size instead of a conventional chloride-containing solution. Samples of thulium-doped silica fibers having nearly identical chemical composition and waveguiding properties were fabricated. The sample fabricated by means of the nanoparticle-doping method exhibited longer lifetime, reflecting other observations and the trend already observed with the fibers doped with erbium and aluminum nanoparticles. The fiber fabricated by means of the nanoparticle-doping method exhibited a lower lasing threshold (by ~20%) and higher slope efficiency (by ~5% rel.). All these observed differences are not extensive and deserve more in-depth research; they may imply a positive influence of the nanoparticle approach on properties of rare-earth-doped fibers for fiber lasers.