A trigonal 5.6 at.% Yb:YAl3(BO3)4 (Yb:YAB) crystal is employed in continuous-wave (CW) and passively Q-switched microchip lasers pumped by a diode at 978 nm. Using a 3 mm-thick, c-cut Yb:YAB crystal, which has a higher pump absorption efficiency, efficient CW microchip laser operation is demonstrated. This laser generated a maximum output power of 7.18 W at 1041–1044 nm with a slope efficiency η of 67% (with respect to the absorbed pump power) and an almost diffraction-limited beam, M2x,y < 1.1. Inserting a Cr:YAG saturable absorber, stable passive Q-switching of the Yb:YAB microchip laser was obtained. The maximum average output power from the Yb:YAB/Cr:YAG laser reached 2.82 W at 1042 nm with η = 53% and a conversion efficiency with respect to the CW mode of 65% (when using a 0.7 mm-thick Cr:YAG). The latter corresponded to a pulse duration and energy of 7.1 ns / 47 μJ at a pulse repetition rate (PRR) of 60 kHz. Using a 1.3 mm-thick Cr:YAG, 2.02 W were achieved at 1041 nm corresponding to η = 38%. The pulse characteristics were 4.9 ns / 83 μJ at PRR = 24.3 kHz and the maximum peak power reached 17 kW. Yb:YAB crystals are very promising for compact sub-ns power-scalable microchip lasers.
Josep Maria Serres, Pavel A. Loiko, Xavier Mateos, Junhai Liu, Huaijing Zhang, Konstantin Yumashev, Uwe Griebner, Valentin Petrov, Magdalena Aguiló, and Francesc Díaz, "Multi-watt passively Q-switched Yb:YAB/Cr:YAG microchip lasers," Proc. SPIE 10082, Solid State Lasers XXVI: Technology and Devices, 100820T (Presented at SPIE LASE: January 31, 2017; Published: 17 February 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2253682.
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