Stable Q-switch mode-locking of Nd:YVO4 lasers with a semiconductor saturable absorber
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This paper reports on a passively mode-locked and Q-switched Nd:YVO4 laser generating picosecond pulses with an average output power exceeding 7 W. In a first step Q-switch mode-locking was obtained by self Q-switching of a mode-locked oscillator with appropriate cavity design, pump power and output coupling. In a second system the Q-switching was actively controlled and stabilized by modulating the resonator internal losses with an acousto-optic modulator. In the Q-switch mode-locking operation the laser provided 12.8 ps long mode-locked pulses with a repetition rate of 80 MHz. The repetition rate of the Q-switch envelope was 185 kHz. The maximum pulse energy of a single ps pulse was 0.55 μJ which is 5.5 times the pulse energy measured for cw mode locking. The total energy of the pulses within the Q-switch envelope was 42 μJ.
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