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Proceedings Paper

Recent advances in eye-safe Er:YAG solid-state heat-capacity technology
Author(s): Marc Eichhorn; Stefano Bigotta; Thierry Ibach
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Paper Abstract

In order to address the question of the possibility of a high energy laser with an emission in the “eye-safe” wavelength range, various architectures may be considered. To provide a truly scalable and efficient laser source, however, only bulk solid-state lasers using resonantly diode-pumped erbium show the necessary properties, when coupled with the solid-state heat-capacity (SSHCL) principle of operation. Although seen as nearly being impossible to realize, such a quasi-three-level laser medium can be used in heat-capacity operation. In this operation mode, the laser medium is not cooled during lasing in order to avoid the thermal lensing occurring in bulk lasers, which, in actively cooled operation, would result in a low beam quality, destabilize the laser cavity or would even cause crystal fracture. In heat-capacity mode, the laser medium will substantially heat up during operation, which will cause an increase in re-absorption for a quasi-three-level laser medium, resulting in a general drop in output power over time. However, theoretical and experimental investigations have proven that this effectis of no concern for an Er3+:YAG SSHCL. This paper presents an overview on the theoretical background of the Er3+:YAG SSHCL, experimental results including recent advances in output power and efficiency, an investigation on the laser scaling properties and recent results on intra-cavity adaptive optics for beam-quality enhancement. The effect of fluorescence re-absorption on the laser properties, especially on threshold and laser efficiency will also be discussed. Up to 4.65 kW and 440 J in less than 800 ms are achieved using optimized doping levels for upconversion reduction in this resonantly-diode-pumped Er3+:YAG SSHCL, representing the current world record in eye-safe diode-pumped solid-state laser technology. Optical-to-optical efficiencies of over 41% and slope efficiencies of over 51% are obtained with respect to the incident pump power.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 November 2012
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 8547, High-Power Lasers 2012: Technology and Systems, 85470V (8 November 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.977638
Show Author Affiliations
Marc Eichhorn, Institut Franco-Allemand de Recherches de Saint-Louis (France)
Stefano Bigotta, Institut Franco-Allemand de Recherches de Saint-Louis (France)
Thierry Ibach, Institut Franco-Allemand de Recherches de Saint-Louis (France)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8547:
High-Power Lasers 2012: Technology and Systems
Harro Ackermann; Willy L. Bohn, Editor(s)

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