Both glass and crystalline Yb-Er doped active media are commonly available. Crystalline media present higher thermal conductivity and hardness, which allows for higher pumping intensities. However, glass laser media present longer laser upper-state lifetime and 99% Yb-Er transfer efficiency make phosphate glasses the typically preferred host for this type of application. In addition to this, passively q-switched microchip lasers with Yb-Er doped phosphate glass have been reported to output >100μJ pulses while their crystalline host counterparts achieve a few tens of μJ at best.
Two different types of rate equation models have been found: microscopic quantities based models and macroscopic quantities based models. Based on the works of Zolotovskaya et al. and Spühler et al, we have developed a computer model that further exploits the equivalence between the two types of approaches. The simulation studies, using commercial available components allowed us to design a compact laser emitting 80μJ pulses with up to 30kW peak power and 1 to 2 ns pulse width.
We considered EAT14 Yb-Er doped glass as active medium and Co2+:MgAl2O4 as saturable absorber. The active medium is pumped by a 975nm semiconductor laser focused into a 200μm spot. Measurements on an experimental test bench to validate the numerical model were carried out. Several different combinations of, saturable absorber length and output coupling were experimented.