Research ArticleOPTICS

Breathing dissipative solitons in mode-locked fiber lasers

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Science Advances  01 Nov 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 11, eaax1110
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax1110


Dissipative solitons are self-localized coherent structures arising from the balance between energy supply and dissipation. Besides stationary dissipative solitons, there are dynamical ones exhibiting oscillatory behavior, known as breathing dissipative solitons. Substantial interest in breathing dissipative solitons is driven by both their fundamental importance in nonlinear science and their practical applications, such as in spectroscopy. Yet, the observation of breathers has been mainly restricted to microresonator platforms. Here, we generate breathers in a mode-locked fiber laser. They exist in the laser cavity under the pump threshold of stationary mode locking. Using fast detection, we are able to observe the temporal and spectral evolutions of the breathers in real time. Breathing soliton molecules are also observed. Breathers introduce a new regime of mode locking into ultrafast lasers. Our findings may contribute to the design of advanced laser sources and open up new possibilities of generating breathers in various dissipative systems.

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