High-power ultrafast fiber lasers operating at the 2 μm wavelength are extremely desirable for material processing, laser surgery, and nonlinear optics. Here we fabricated large-core (LC) double-cladding Tm-doped silica fiber via the sol-gel method. The sol-gel-fabricated Tm-doped silica (SGTS) fiber had a large core diameter of 30 μm with a high refractive index homogeneity (Δn=2×10−4). With the newly developed LC SGTS fiber as the gain fiber, high-power mode-locking was realized. By using a semiconductor saturable absorber mirror (SESAM) as a mode locker, the LC SGTS fiber oscillator generated mode-locked pulses with an average output power as high as 1.0 W and a pulse duration of 23.9 ps at the wavelength of 1955.0 nm. Our research results show that the self-developed LC Tm-doped silica fiber via the sol-gel method is a promising gain fiber for generating high-power ultrafast lasers in the 2 μm spectral region.
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