Semiconductor laser amplifiers are studied as modulators of picosecond pulses. A new hybrid laser amplifier model is described which is used to investigate ultrashort pulse amplification in both modulated and non-modulated amplifiers. Novel shaping of chirped pulses is demonstrated experimentally and theoretically using a continuously driven amplifier. Modelling of electrically modulated amplifiers shows that direct amplifier modulation may be possible up to a frequency of 5 GHz to provide pulse gating or enhanced pulse train amplification.
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