, Volume 70, Issue 4, pp 491-498

Energetic and thermal performance of high-gain diode-side-pumped Nd:YAG rods

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We investigated the energetic and thermal performance of a diode-side-pumped Nd:YAG rod laser with up to 50 W power deposited as excess heat into a 3-mm-diameter, 10-cm-length rod. The rod design produces an extremely flat gain profile resulting in “textbook” expressions of thermal lensing and birefringence. Thermal and energetic measurements are compared to corresponding “textbook” theoretical expressions. Discrepancies between various published thermo-mechanical YAG parameters are resolved by a self-consistent set of measured and calculated data for rod thermal lens focal lengths, birefringence depolarization and ratio of heat to stored energy (χ). Measured thermal and energetic performance under lasing and nonlasing conditions are presented, which agree with published theoretical expressions and measurements. Compensation of rod thermal lensing with simple spherical concave lenses is demonstrated. In addition various methods for compensating birefringence depolarization are theoretically and experimentally analyzed and compared.

Received: 19 July 1999 / Revised version: 22 October 1999 / Published online: 23 February 2000