The in-situ dissolution-and-reduction CVD synthesized few-layer graphene on ultra-thin nickel catalyst film is demonstrated at temperature as low as 550 °C, which can be employed to form transmission-type or reflection-type saturable absorber (SA) for mode-locking the erbium-doped fiber lasers (EDFLs). With transmission-type graphene SA, the EDFL shortens its pulsewidth from 483 to 441 fs and broadens its spectral linewidth from 4.2 to 6.1 nm with enlarging the pumping current from 200 to 900 mA. In contrast, the reflection-type SA only compresses the pulsewidth from 875 to 796 fs with corresponding spectral linewidth broadened from 2.2 to 3.3 nm. The reflection-type graphene mode-locker increases twice of its equivalent layer number to cause more insertion loss than the transmission-type one. Nevertheless, the reflection-type based saturable absorber system can generate stabilized soliton-like pulse easier than that of transmission-type system, because the nonlinearity induced self-amplitude modulation depth is simultaneously enlarged when passing through the graphene twice under the retro-reflector design.
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