Cascaded Fiber-based Mid-Infrared Supercontinuum Source

In this paper, we investigate mid-IR SC generation in a cascaded silica-ZBLAN-chalcogenide fiber system directly pumped with a commercially-available 460-ps pulsed fiber laser operating in the telecommunications window at 1.55 µm. This fiber-based system is shown to generate a flat broadband mid-IR SC covering the entire range from 2 to 10 µm with tens of mW of output power. This technique paves the way for low cost, practical, and robust broadband SC sources in the mid-IR without the requirement of mid-infrared pump sources or Thulium-doped fiber amplifiers. We also describe a fully realistic numerical model used to simulate the nonlinear pulse propagation through the cascaded fiber system and use our numerical results to discuss the physical processes underlying the spectral broadening in the cascaded system. We conclude with recommendations to optimize the current cascaded systems based on the simulation results.