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Proceedings Paper

"Diode Pumped Solid State Lasers At 2 And 3 µm"
Author(s): Leon Esterowitz
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Paper Abstract

The most attractive alternative to flashlamp pumping of solid state lasers is the diode laser. In the past two decades numerous laboratory devices have been assembled which incorporated single diode lasers, small laser diode arrays or LED's for pumping of Nd:YAG, Nd:glass and a host of other Nd lasers. The low power output, low packaging density, and extremely high cost of diode lasers prevented any serious applications for laser pumping in the past. The reason for the continued interest in this area stems from the potential dramatic increase in system efficiency and component lifetime, and reduction of thermal load of the solid-state laser material. The latter not only will reduce thereto-optic effects and therefore lead to better beam quality but also will enable an increase in pulse repetition frequency. The attractive operating parameters combined with low voltage operation and the compactness of an all solid-state laser system have a potential high payoff. The high pumping efficiency compared to flashlamps stems from the good spectral match between the laser diode emission and the rare earth activator absorption bands. A significant advantage of laser diode pumping compared to arc lamps is system lifetime and reliability. Laser diode arrays have exhibited lifetimes on the order of 10,000 hours in cw operation and 109 shots in the pulsed mode. Flashlamp life is on the order of 107 shots, and about 200 hours for cw operation. In addition, the high pump flux combined with a substantial UV content in lamp pumped systems causes material degradation in the pump cavity and in the coolant. Such problems are virtually eliminated with laser diode pump sources. The absence of high voltage pulses, high temperatures and UV radiation encountered with arc lamps leads to much more benign operating features for solid state laser systems employing laser diode pumps. Laser diode technology dates back to 1962 when laser action in GaAs diodes was first demonstrated. However, it took a decade to transform a fragile device requiring cryogenic temperatures into one capable of emitting a continuous beam at room temperature. In the last few years the rapid progress in fabricating diode lasers has increased interest in developing diode pumped solid state lasers. Device fabrication improvements such as double hetero-structures, multiple quantum well structures, monolithic phased arrays and multiple stripe lasers which were made possible by improved manufacturing technologies have produced a dramatic reduction of threshold current and increases of slope efficiency, lifetime and output power.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 June 1988
PDF: 2 pages
Proc. SPIE 0908, Laser Interaction with Tissue, (3 June 1988); doi: 10.1117/12.945356
Show Author Affiliations
Leon Esterowitz, Naval Research Laboratory (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0908:
Laser Interaction with Tissue
Michael W. Berns, Editor(s)

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