, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 131-135

CW mode locked Nd:YVO4 laser pumped by 20-W laser diode bar

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The efficient cw mode locking (cw-ML) regime was demonstrated in Nd:YVO4 laser by means of saturable absorber mirror (SAM). The 0.3-at.% Nd3+ doped 10-mm-long YVO4 crystal end pumped by 20-W diode module with a beam shaper was applied as a gain medium located in the close vicinity to the rear flat mirror of the first arm of Z-type resonator of 316 cm total length with two curved mirrors of 100-cm curvature radii. The SAM of 2%-saturable absorptance and saturation fluence of 50 μJ/cm2 was mounted at the opposite end of a resonator. The developed “dynamically stable” cavity design mitigates detrimental role of thermal aberration in gain medium, enforcing clean perfect mode locking even for the highest pump densities. The cw-ML pulses with 47.5 MHz repetition rate and pulse durations in the range of 15–20 ps were observed for a wide range of pump powers and output coupler losses. In the best case, for 32% of output coupler transmission, up to 6.2 W of average power with near 35% slope efficiency was achieved. The thresholds for Q-switched ML, cw-ML regimes were 2.67 W and 6.13 W of pump power, respectively. For the maximum pump power of 20 W we obtained 133 nJ of pulse energy with 16-ps pulse duration, resulting in a peak power higher than 8 kW. The threshold energy density at SAM giving the QML regime was estimated to be about 30 μJ/cm2, threshold of cw-ML regime was 220 μJ/cm2.