Optical properties of Cr,Yb:YAG, Cr,Nd:YAG crystals, and composite Yb:YAG/Cr:YAG ceramics self-Q-switched solid-state laser materials are presented. The merits of these self-Q-switched laser materials are given and the potentials of such lasers can be chosen by the applications. Cr,Yb:YAG and composite Yb:YAG/Cr:YAG ceramics self-Q-switched laser are conducted. Although several tens of kW peak power can be obtained with a monolithic microchip Cr,Yb:YAG laser, the experimental results show that the performance of this laser is limited by the absorption of Cr4+ ions at a pump wavelength of 940 nm and strong fluorescence quenching at high Cr concentration. Composite Yb:YAG/Cr:YAG ceramics are more suitable to realize high pulse energy and peak power (up to MW level) with optimized lasing and Q-switching parts. In addition, the instabilities induced by the multi-longitudinal mode competition in Cr,Nd:YAG and Cr,Yb:YAG microchip lasers are addressed. The different gain bandwidths of Yb:YAG and Nd:YAG play an important role in the instability of the output laser pulse trains. Stable laser pulses from the Cr,Yb:YAG microchip laser were obtained due to the antiphase dynamics. For the Cr,Nd:YAG microchip laser, the instability caused by the multi-longitudinal mode competition is an intrinsic property. Different transverse patterns were observed in Cr,Nd:YAG microchip lasers when a pump beam with larger diameter was used. Saturated inversion population distribution inside the gain medium plays an important role in the transverse pattern formation. Different transverse patterns were reconstructed by combining different sets of the Hermite-Gaussian modes. © 2008 The Optical Society of Japan.
- Composite ceramics
- Instability of pulse oscillation
- Microchip lasers
- Self-Q-switched laser materials
- Single crystal