Adhesive-free bonded (AFB®) composite crystals have proven to be useful components in diode-pumped solid-state lasers (DPSSL). The combination of a lasing medium of higher index of refraction with laser-inactive cladding layers of lower index results in light- or wave-guided slab architectures. The cladding layers also serve to provide mechanical support, thermal uniformity and a heat sink during laser operation. Therefore, the optical and mechanical properties of these components are of interest for the design of DPSSL, especially at high laser fluencies and output power. We report on process parameters and material attributes that result in stress-free AFB® composites that are resistant to thermally induced failure.
Formation of stress-free and durable bonds between two dissimilar materials requires heat-treatment of composites to a temperature high enough to ensure durable bonds and low enough to prevent forming of permanent chemical bonds. The onset temperature for forming permanent bonds at the interface sets the upper limit for heat treatment. This limiting temperature is dependent on the chemical composition, crystallographic orientation, and surface characteristics.
We have determined the upper temperature limits for forming stress-free bonds between YAG and sapphire, YAG and GGG, YAG and spinel, spinel and sapphire, spinel and GGG, and sapphire and GGG composites. We also deduce the relative magnitude of thermal expansion coefficients amongst the respective single crystals as αGGG > αsapp_c > αspinel > αYAG > αsapp_a from interferometric analysis.