, Volume 22, Issue 1 Supplement, pp S1-S22

Ground-state depleted solid-state lasers: principles, characteristics and scaling

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A novel class of rare-earth-doped solid-state lasers is described. The ground-state depleted laser is pumped by an intense (more than tens of kW cm−2) narrow-band (less than a few nm) laser source and is characterized by: (1) an unusually low laser ion doping density (5 to 10×1018ion cm−3), (2) an unusually large fractional excited population inversion density (4 to 8×1018 ion cm−3, or >75%), (3) a gain element that is optically thick at the pump wavelength and (4) a gain element that has a substantially uniform gain distribution due to a bleaching of the pump transition at the pump intensity utilized. These features enable efficient room-temperature operation of rare-earth-ion laser transitions terminating on the ground manifold. The relationships between laser parameters (cross-sections, saturation fluences and fluxes, bleaching wave velocities, etc.) are given and laser performance scaling relationships are presented and discussed.