PACS: 42.65.Tg; 42.79.Nv

1. Introduction

The Soliton self-frequency shift (SSFS)^{1}^{,}^{2} has been demonstrated as an important mechanism for the supercontinuum (SC) generation with femtosecond pulses in optical fibers ^{3}^{,}^{4}. Specifically, many effects implied in SC generation would not be possible without the SSFS ^{5}^{,}^{6}^{,}^{7}^{,}^{8}^{,}^{9}^{,}^{10}^{,}^{11}. Its characteristic large frequency shift has been exploited for the fabrication of infrared (IR) sources ^{12}^{,}^{13}^{,}^{14}, even its optimization has been reported ^{15}^{,}^{16}^{,}^{17}.

In previous works, we have shown that a fs-pulse can simultaneously generates several pre-defined spectral peaks by means of dispersive waves in the normal GVD^{18} or by soliton self-frequency shift in the anomalous GVD^{19}. It is useful for potential applications of optical coherence tomography (OCT). Now, regarding the same kind of applications, we present a computational optimization with the use of a genetic algorithm (GA) to obtain not only a tunable frequency convertor (see, *e.g.*, Refs. ^{20}^{,}^{21}), but also achieving the maximum spectral conversion possible in the fixed channel regarding the scope of the initial set of input pulse parameters. This frequency convertor is useful for applications where high power is demanded.

We simulate pulses propagation in a commercial highly nonlinear photonic crystal fiber, NL-2.4-800 PCF (see Ref. ^{19} for details of cross sectional geometry), exhibiting SC generation at the Ti:Sapphire laser wavelengths. This method finds the optimal input pulse parameters, namely central wavelength, *i.e*. firstly ejected Raman soliton in the IR spectral region ^{22}. The inverse problem, *i.e*. the design of PCFs to optimize the SC has indeed been previously solved satisfactorily in a wide range of situations ^{23}^{,}^{24}^{,}^{25}^{,}^{26}^{,}^{27}. Our interest in the IR region is motivated specifically by applications in OCT ^{28}^{,}^{29}^{,}^{30}^{,}^{31}^{,}^{32}^{,}^{33}^{,}^{34}.

2. Pulse propagation and genetic algorithms

Using a Fourier split-step method, we simulate the propagation of optical pulses with complex amplitude *A*(*z, t*) by integrating numerically the GNLSE ^{3},

where *z* is the axis coordinate along the fiber propagation, the dispersion coefficients *q* = 10 in this work computed with a FEM solver) account for the linear fiber dispersion at the pump frequency ^{35}, and ^{36}.

The input pulse used in this work belong to a realistic laser source, the form is

Optimization algorithms have been developed in order to solve problems involving multiple variables in which solution seems to be non trivial (see Refs. ^{37}^{,}^{38}^{,}^{39} for reviews on the topic). A GA is a evolutionary computational algorithm for optimization which makes evolve an initial population of individuals in order to find global minima when a number of generations is generated ^{40}^{,}^{41}. Each individual is the result of the evaluation of a set of parameters (^{23}^{,}^{24}. Previously, some works have made use of GAs for the optimization of the dispersion management ^{26}^{,}^{27}, even the design of PCF structural parameters for SC generation ^{25}. We use a GA using pre-defined functions of Matlab ^{42}. In the first stage, the GA starts generating a randomly initial population of *p* = 50 individuals. In the second stage, the most promising individuals generated in the first stage are allowed to reproduce to determine the next generation of individuals according to the pre-established evolution rules of Mutation *i.e.* a mix of two promising individuals (parents) and their rates to obtain the offspring for the next generation. Most parent selection methods are stochastic in order to keep the diversity of the population, preventing premature to a sub-optimal convergence solution. The Random operator *c* (*c* < *p*) and by the genetic operator

3. Raman frequency conversion

It has been proved that high axial resolution in OCT systems is aimed in the spectral region of 800 nm to 1400 nm ^{43}^{,}^{44}. Aditionally, the NIR II light decrease in scattering and increase in transparency of the biological tissues over the NIR range ^{45}. Moreover Gaussian spectral shapes avoid spurious structures in OCT images ^{46}. For these reasons, IR-Raman soliton can be considered a very good option to OCT applications.

In Sec. 3.1, we search the optimal parameters,

where

In order to prove the convenience of our method, it is made an exhaustive search of the best fitness value by scanning the entire ranges of parameters. It is shown in Sec. 3.2

3.1. Optimal solution using genetic algorithms

The optimization consisted in the search of parameters that originate the maximum output power in each selected spectral channel on the NIR II using the GA to vary the pulse parameters *P* [1, 15] kW, *T* [30, 110] fs. The range of values used in this work are attainable in realistic Ti:Sapphire lasers. In this particular optimization problem, each individual evaluation typically required 90 s what amounted for about *D* “*cloud*" graphic in the space of parameters in Fig. 2(a).

This “*cloud"* of individuals corresponds to all solutions generated by the GA, their *fitness* function being represented by the color code bar. Lighter points have smaller fitness values (thus, better) than darker ones. We observe that there exists a zone where the GA tends to accumulate points. It is precisely in this region where the best fitness value (red point) is found. It is worth mentioning that in general these regions could contain more candidates to optimal solutions than those eventually selected by the GA. Thus, keeping track of these “quasi-optimal" individuals can also be of great interest from the physical point of view since they can provide extra-local minima of the *fitness* function not considered in a preliminary physical analysis of the optimization scenario. Once the local minima have been detected, a more accurate search around them combining GA strategies and other optimization techniques can be performed in order to find a better minimum of the *fitness* function.

Figure 2(b) shows clearly the “dynamical" improvement in the fitness value as the GA evolves [referred to in Fig. 1]. The initial “optimized" value is obtained in the stage 1, when the initial population of 50 individuals is randomly generated (delimited by the vertical dashed line). After the 50th evaluation, the stage 2 of our algorithm initiates, when genetic operators start to act on the previous population. A significant improvement in the fitness of the population is apparent, the mean fitness value of the population is monotonically decreasing as new individuals are generated, as the black continuous curve. The red line shows the minimum global value until the instant of the last individual is generated in the process. Our GA has not a tendency to converge towards local optima or arbitrary points rather than the global optimum of the problem, this is caused because the operator

The spectral and temporal evolutions of the best individual found in the optimization process (see Fig. 1) are shown in Figs. 3(a)-(b) respectively. It clearly demonstrates the optimality of the result provided by the GA: the spectrum of the first Raman soliton (the reddest one) is accurately centered in the targeted channel (delimited by the dashed lines).

The maximum spectral power found for each channel results very approximate to the Kodama and Hasegawa predictions for the soliton amplitude^{22}.

It is known that SSFS can be made large by propagating shorter pulses with high peak powers inside highly nonlinear fibers and that the fission of higher-order solitons generates frequency-shifted pulses in form of Raman solitons ^{1}^{,}^{35}.

In order to validate of our method, it is made an exhaustive search of the best fitness value by scanning the entire ranges of parameters. It is shown in Sec. 3.2.

3.2. Optimal solution using exhaustive search

Now, a searching method is implemented to check the reliability of our results. It consists of picking the individual with the best fitness value from a systematic evaluation of all possible combinations of parameters (*m* = 675) within the defined ranges with defined steps. It is worth mentioning that this process requires larger capabilities of time-machine (

The chart of different values for the *sawtooth* behavior of the fitness value evolution is because the fitness value becomes better and worse by repeating the parameter values for each individual while they are evaluated in the search.

By comparing Tables and , we can see that the efficiency obtained in the optimization using the GA is better than the search made without using the GA, even using more executions in the exhaustive search. We perform a new search level by focusing on a smaller region around the neighbourhood of the previously optimized results in Table . The new conditions are:

4. Conclusions

We have presented a well defined and efficient optimization procedure of a Ti:Saphire laser pulse parameters to obtain the maximum frequency conversion using a simple device by means of solitonic red-shift in the anomalous region. This optimization is achieved with the use of GAs. Therefore, it has been shown that efficient spectral conversion based on SSFS can be achieved using a simple PCF as a medium of generating spectral broadening pumped by a Ti:Sapphire laser just by properly controlling the input parameters of the input pulses. This scenario typically involves soliton fission and emission of dispersive waves into the normal GVD regime, situation in which precise analytical estimates are not available and therefore the use of numerical simulations in combination with GA is of great usefulness. In summary, this work results in a tool with great potential for optimization of the output of SC spectra for practical OCT applications in the NIR II region.