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  • CLEO/Europe and EQEC 2011 Conference Digest
  • OSA Technical Digest (CD) (Optica Publishing Group, 2011),
  • paper CA7_3

High-Brightness 946 nm Nd:YAG Planar Waveguide Laser

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Planar waveguide (PW) lasers offer several advantages over their bulk counterparts, such as strong optical confinement providing high gain and low threshold, and excellent thermal management characteristics [1]. This is especially true for laser transitions that suffer reabsorption loss and have relatively weak gain cross sections, such as neodymium’s quasi-four-level (4F3/24I9/2) transition. Our interest in lasers operating on this transition lies in their potential to be upconverted into the blue-green part of the visible spectrum for various applications ranging from display technologies to life-science diagnostics. Nd:YAG is generally considered to be one of the best materials for lasers operating on this transition, however it has several challenging characteristics that have thus far limited high-brightness laser operation in the tens of Watts regime; such as gain competition with the stronger 4-level 4F3/24I11/2 transition, low-brightness pump-sources, and above all detrimental thermally-induced aberrations in the host material. While 15W has been produced from an end-pumped rod laser [2], 25W from a thin-disk [3], and 105 W [4] from the same PW structure as reported here, the brightness of these lasers is significantly lower than that of a few Watts in a diffraction-limited beam. In this work, we discuss the radiance scaling potential of a Nd:YAG PW using an extended stable-resonator configuration.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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