We addressed the problem of a state of polarization (SOP) drift caused by heating under intense clad pumping in different types of active tapered double-clad fibers. We investigated experimentally the variations of the SOP and degree of polarization (DOP) under clad pumping in polarization-maintaining (PANDA type) and regular (non-PM) Yb-doped double-clad large mode area tapered fibers. We discovered that the birefringence of active fibers is highly dependent on the launched pump power. To solve the problem of the SOP drift in active large mode are fibers, we, for the first time to the best of our knowledge, presented an active double-clad fiber with low intrinsic birefringence as a gain medium. An Yb-doped spun tapered double-clad fiber (sT-DCF) with intrinsic birefringence as low as 1.45×10−8 was manufactured and experimentally studied. We have proved experimentally that the DOP and SOP remains more stable in sT-DCF with increasing pump power compared to PM PANDA-type and regular non-PM tapered double-clad fibers. In particular, the SOP drift in sT-DCF is almost one order of magnitude less than in other tapered fibers, while the DOP drift in sT-DCF is comparable with the drift in PANDA-type fiber and one order of magnitude less than in the non-PM tapered fiber. An active sT-DCF showing efficient amplification was demonstrated in an all-fiber-based picosecond master-oscillator power-amplifier scheme. The system delivered 50 ps pulses at 1040 nm with an average power of 50 W, 34 dB gain, 26 µm MFD and perfect beam quality.
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