Advances and Challenges of Ultrafast Fiber Lasers in 2-4 μm Mid-Infrared Spectral Regions

Yani Zhang, Kexin Wu, Zhe Guang, Bo Guo, Dun Qiao, Zhiyi Wei, Hongyan Yang, Qiuyang Wang, Kang Li, Nigel Copner, Xiaohui Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mid-infrared (mid-IR) ultrafast lasers have been widely employed in biomedicine, molecular spectroscopy, material processing, and nonlinear optics. With the improvement of fiber gain media and other fiber optical elements, low-cost, compact, and high-efficiency fiber lasers open up new opportunities for 2-4 μm pulse generations, which calls for a comprehensive review of their mode-locking mechanisms, gain media, and fiber laser system performance. This paper, beginning with an overview of pulse-generation technologies, reviews recent progress on 2-4 µm mid-IR ultrafast fiber lasers, including Tm3+-, Ho3+-doped, Tm3+/Ho3+ co-doped silicate fiber 2 μm lasers, and Er3+-, Dy3+-doped and Ho3+/Pr3+ co-doped ZBLAN fiber 2.5-4 μm lasers. Among them, the status of 2-4 µm ultrafast fiber lasers based on 2D material passive modelocking is emphatically discussed. Meanwhile, the novel advances on mode-locking and gain fibers of mid-IR ultrafast fiber lasers are explored. What’s more, current and prospective
applications of such laser systems are also introduced in details. This review finally summarizes challenges associated with future development of mid-IR ultrafast fiber lasers, which provides an outlook on how to achieve more desirable laser performance (e.g., higher average power, higher pulse energy, and longer emission wavelength) that can lead to more practical uses of such lasers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number202300786
Number of pages42
JournalLaser and Photonics Reviews
Issue number00
Early online date27 Nov 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Nov 2023


  • mid-infrared
  • ultrafast laser
  • fiber laser
  • mode-locking
  • saturable absorber


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