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Proceedings Paper

Performance of a 500-W Nd:GGG zigzag slab oscillator
Author(s): Luis E. Zapata; Kenneth R. Manes; David J. Christie; James M. Davin; James A. Blink; J. Penland; Robert D. Demaret; G. Dallum
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Paper Abstract

Realization of practical multi-kilowatt Nd:garnet lasers will require the scale-up of crystal dimensions as well as more powerful pumping sources. A high average power zigzag slab crystal amplifier testing facility has been established at LLNL which employs two 100 kWe vortex stabilized arc lamps, cooled reflectors and a cooled, spectrally filtered, crystal slab mounting fixture. The operational characteristics of the first crystal laser to be tested in this setup, a Nd:GGG zigzag oscillator, are presented. A Nd:GGG crystal of dimensions 18x7x0.5 cm3, doped at 2x1020 cm-3 Nd3+ atomic density, was pumped by up to 40 kW of filtered argon line emission. A small-signal single pass gain (losses excluded) of 1.09 was measured with a probe laser when the DC input to the lamps was 43 kWe. Our power supply was then modified to operate in a pulsed mode and provided one to three milliseconds pulses at 120 Hz. An average optical output power of 490 watts was obtained at a lamp input power of 93 kWe in an unoptimized resonator. The laser output power declined after a few tens of seconds since the slab tips were not properly cooled. A birdhouse specular lamp reflector and a contoured diffuse reflector were tested; in both cases the pump illuminated crystal surface was smaller than the total crystal face area. Fluorescence imaging of the zigzag amplifier's output aperture registered a smoother, more uniform pumping profile when the diffuse reflector was used. Uniformity of pumping results in decreased resonator loss and yields higher laser output power. Thermo-optic distortions observed in these preliminary tests are analyzed with the aid of computer simulations of the thermal fields, stresses, and surface displacements of our crystal slab.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 April 1990
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 1223, Solid State Lasers, (1 April 1990); doi: 10.1117/12.18419
Show Author Affiliations
Luis E. Zapata, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Kenneth R. Manes, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
David J. Christie, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
James M. Davin, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
James A. Blink, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
J. Penland, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Robert D. Demaret, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
G. Dallum, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1223:
Solid State Lasers
George Dube, Editor(s)

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