Characterization of timing jitter spectra in free-running mode-locked lasers with 340 dB dynamic range over 10 decades of Fourier frequency
We demonstrate a method that enables accurate timing jitter spectral density characterization of free-running mode-locked laser oscillators over more than 10-decade of Fourier frequency from mHz to tens MHz range. The method is based on analyzing both the input voltage noise to the slave laser and the output voltage noise from the balanced optical cross- correlator (BOC), when two mode-locked lasers are synchronized in repetition rate by the BOC. As a demonstration experiment, timing jitter spectrum of a free-running mode-locked Er-fiber laser with a dynamic range of >340 dB is measured over Fourier frequency ranging from 1 mHz to 38.5 MHz (Nyquist frequency). The demonstrated method can resolve different noise mechanisms that cause specific jitter characteristics in free-running mode-locked laser oscillators for a vast range of time scales from <100-ns to >1000-s.