An Erbium-doped fibre ring laser hybrid mode-locked with single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNT) and nonlinear polarisation evolution (NPE) without an optical isolator has been investigated for various cavity conditions. Precise control of the state of polarisation (SOP) in the cavity ensures different losses for counter-propagating optical fields. As the result, the laser operates in quasi-unidirectional regime in both clockwise (CW) and counter-clockwise (CCW) directions with the emission strengths difference of the directions of 22 dB. Furthermore, by adjusting the net birefringence in the cavity, the laser can operate in a bidirectional generation. In this case, a laser pumped with 75 mW power at 980 nm generates almost identical 790 and 570 fs soliton pulses with an average power of 1.17 and 1.11 mW. The operation stability and pulse quality of the soliton pulses in both unidirectional regimes are highly competitive with those generated in conventional ring fibre lasers with isolator in the cavity. Demonstrated bidirectional laser operation can find vital applications in gyroscopes or precision rotation sensing technologies.
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Funding: Marie-Curie Inter-national Research Staff Exchange Scheme “TelaSens" project, Research Executive Agency Grant No 269271, Programme: FP7-PEOPLE-2010-IRSES and the European Research Council through the FP7-IDEAS-ERC grant ULTRALASER is gratefully acknowledged. M. C. acknowledges the support of EU Horizon2020 Marie S.-Curie IF MINDFLY project.
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