Single femtosecond laser-based coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) microscopy, using a photonic crystal fiber (PCF) pumped in the near-IR to generate a supercontinuum for the Stokes source, is rapidly being adopted as a cost-effective approach. A PCF with two closely-lying zero dispersion wavelengths is a popular choice for the Stokes source, but it is often limited to imaging lipids. A polarization-maintaining PCF with two far-lying zero dispersion wavelengths offers important advantages for polarization CARS microscopy, and for CARS imaging in the fingerprint region. This PCF fiber, though commercially available, has limited use for CARS microscopy in the C-H bond region. The main problem is that the supercontinuum from this fiber is typically noisier than that from a standard PCF with two closely-lying zero dispersion wavelengths. To overcome this, we determined the optimum operating conditions for generating a low-noise supercontinuum out of a PCF with two far-lying zero dispersion wavelengths, in terms of the input parameters of the excitation pulse. We measured the relative intensity noise (RIN) of the Stokes and the corresponding CARS signal as a function of the input laser parameters in this fiber. We showed that the results of CARS imaging using this alternate fiber are comparable to those achieved using the standard fiber, for input laser pulse conditions of low average power, narrow pulse width with slightly positive chirp, and polarization direction parallel to the slow axis of the selected fiber.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL
Journal Optics Express
Naji, M. (Majid), Murugkar, S, & Anis, H. (Hanan). (2014). Determining optimum operating conditions of the polarization-maintaining fiber with two farlying zero dispersion wavelengths for CARS microscopy. Optics Express, 22(9), 10800–10814. doi:10.1364/OE.22.010800