Erbium doped fiber lasers are attractive candidates for high energy lasers (HELs) used in directed energy applications because they operate at wavelengths that are both safer to the eye and in a high atmospheric transmission window. A significant issue for erbium doped fibers is detrimental clustering effects such as upconversion and quenching. We have investigated the use of ytterbium-erbium co-doping in both solution and nanoparticle form, where Yb ions are used to help disperse and separate the Er ions in order to avoid these effects. Both solution doping and nanoparticle doping were investigated and optimal concentrations for both were determined. By optimizing variables such as Yb/Er ratio and Al precursor concentrations during synthesis we have been able to increase erbium concentration levels in Silica fiber cores while minimizing detrimental clustering effects. In-band pumping of Er ions at 1475 nm in a single-mode master oscillator power amplifier set-up was used to investigate lasing efficiency, and therefore the Yb ions do not absorb and are optically passive. This ensures that the fibers are operating in the eye-safer regime. We have achieved optical to optical slope efficiencies of 50% for Yb-Er NP and solution doping in a single mode fiber with Er concentrations that are much greater than are achievable with conventional solution doping. Results indicate improved potential for power scaling.
Colin C. Baker, E. Joseph Friebele, Ashley A. Burdett, Daniel L. Rhonehouse, Woohong Kim, Jasbinder S. Sanghera, Jun Zhang, Radha K. Pattnaik, and Mark Dubinskii, "Yb-Er co-doping for resonantly pumped fiber lasers at eye-safer wavelengths (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10528, Optical Components and Materials XV, 1052807 (Presented at SPIE OPTO: January 29, 2018; Published: 14 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2296604.5751440635001.
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