With their advantages like good beam quality, easy thermal management, high robustness and compact size, fiber lasers are one of the most promising solid state laser concepts for high power scaling with excellent beam quality. One issue of further power scaling is the reduction of nonlinear effects, especially Raman scattering, which consequently led to increased mode field areas. However, for large mode area fibers, new challenges, namely transversal mode instabilities (TMI) have to be taken into account. Beside our investigations in the power scaling of ytterbium doped fiber amplifiers up to 4.4kW output power, we present our investigations of the TMI threshold in dependence on bend diameter and absorption length of a well-known, commercial fiber. Within this scope, we used a 13m piece of the fiber and gradually reduced the bend diameter from 60cm slightly below 14cm within a pump wavelength of 976nm. Furthermore, we increased the fiber length to 30 m, presuming the bend diameter of 14 cm and all experimental conditions. However, in a next step, we detuned the pump wavelength up to 980 nm in order to increase the pump absorption length As a result, we achieved 2.9kW of single mode output at a bend diameter of 14cm. The 4.4kW result was obtained with a separately manufactured low-NA fiber, allowing for a slope efficiency of 90% with regards to the absorbed pump light and an extremely temporal stability.
We present the fabrication and properties of active fiber laser materials fabricated by a newly developed solution doping technique. The contribution focusses on Aluminum, Phosphorus, Ytterbium as well as Boron doped SiO<sub>2</sub> for the use as fiber laser material. More specifically low doping concentration in the vicinity of the molar ratio of Al<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub>:P<sub>2</sub>O<sub>5</sub> = 1:1 will be elucidated. The effect of fabrication parameters on optical properties like refractive index, absorption and emission properties will be covered. Currently it is possible to achieve cw output powers greater than 4 kW using Al, P, Yb doped fibers fabricated with this method. Fibers additionally codoped with Boron are as well suitable for kW class applications as well.
Fiber amplifiers are representing one of the most promising solid state laser concepts, due to the compact setup size, a simple thermal management and furthermore excellent beam quality. In this contribution, we report on the latest results from a low-NA, large mode area single mode fiber with a single mode output power beyond 4 kW without any indication of mode instabilities or nonlinear effects and high slope efficiency. Furthermore, we quantify the influence of the bending diameter of our manufactured low NA fiber on the average core loss by an OFDR measurement and determine the optimal bending diameter in comparison to a second fiber with a slightly changed NA. The fibers used in the experiments were fabricated by MCVD technology combined with the solution doping technique. The investigation indicates the limitation of the step index fiber design and its influence on the use in high power fiber amplifiers. We demonstrate, that even a slightly change in the core NA crucially influences the minimum bending diameter of the fiber and has to be taken into account in applications. The measured output power represents to the best of our knowledge the highest single mode output power of an amplifier fiber ever reported on.
We present a detailed investigation of different compositions of Yb3<sup>+</sup>-doped alumino-silicate glasses as promising materials for diode-pumped high-power laser applications at 1030 nm due to their beneficial thermo-mechanical properties. To generate comprehensive datasets for emission and absorption cross sections, the spectral properties of the materials were recorded at temperatures ranging from liquid nitrogen to room temperature. It was found that the newly developed materials offer higher emission cross sections at the center laser wavelength of 1030 nm than the so far used alternatives Yb:CaF<sub>2</sub> and Yb:FP-glass. This results in a lower saturation fluence that offers the potential for higher laser extraction efficiency. Fluorescence lifetime quenching of first test samples was analyzed and attributed to the hydroxide (OH) concentration in the host material. Applying a sophisticated glass manufacturing process, OH concentrations could be lowered by up to two orders of magnitude, rising the lifetime and the quantum efficiency for samples doped with more than 6.10<sup>20</sup> Yb<sup>3+</sup> -ions per cm³. First laser experiments showed a broad tuning range of about 60 nm, which is superior to Yb:CaF<sub>2</sub> and Yb:FP-glass in the same setup. Furthermore, measurements of the laser induced damage threshold (LIDT) for different coating techniques on doped substrates revealed the appropriateness of the materials for short pulse high-energy laser amplification.