We demonstrate high quality pulse compression at high repetition rates by use of spectral broadening of short parabolic-like pulses in a normally-dispersive highly nonlinear fiber (HNLF) followed by linear dispersion compensation with a conventional SMF-28 fiber. The key contribution of this work is on the use of a simple and efficient long-period fiber grating (LPFG) filter for synthesizing the desired parabolic-like pulses from sech2-like input optical pulses; this all-fiber low-loss filter enables reducing significantly the required input pulse power as compared with the use of previous all-fiber pulse re-shaping solutions (e.g. fiber Bragg gratings). A detailed numerical analysis has been performed in order to optimize the system's performance, including investigation of the optimal initial pulse shape to be launched into the HNLF fiber. We found that the pulse shape launched into the HNLF is critically important for suppressing the undesired wave breaking in the nonlinear spectral broadening process. The optimal shape is found to be independent on the parameters of normally dispersive HNLFs. In our experiments, 1.5-ps pulses emitted by a 10-GHz mode-locked laser are first reshaped into 3.2-ps parabolic-like pulses using our LPFG-based pulse reshaper. Flat spectrum broadening of the amplified initial parabolic-like pulses has been generated using propagation through a commercially-available HNLF. Pulses of 260 fs duration with satellite peak and pedestal suppression greater than 17 dB have been obtained after the linear dispersion compensation fiber. The generated pulses exhibit a 20-nm wide supercontinuum energy spectrum that has almost a square-like spectral profile with >85% of the pulse energy contained in its FWHM spectral bandwidt
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