We report on laser performance of ceramic Yb:YAG and single crystal Tm:YAG double-clad crystalline fiber waveguide (CFW) lasers towards the goal of demonstrating the design and manufacturing strategy of scaling to high output power. The laser component is a double-clad CFW, with RE<sup>3+</sup>:YAG (RE = Yb, Tm respectively) core, un-doped YAG inner cladding, and ceramic spinel or sapphire outer cladding. Laser performance of the CFW has been demonstrated with 53.6% slope efficiency and 27.5-W stable output power at 1030-nm for Yb:YAG CFW, and 31.6% slope efficiency and 46.7-W stable output power at 2019-nm for Tm:YAG CFW, respectively. Adhesive-Free Bond (AFB®) technology enables a designable refractive index difference between core and inner cladding, and designable core and inner cladding sizes, which are essential for single transverse mode CFW propagation. <p> </p>To guide further development of CFW designs, we present thermal modeling, power scaling and design of single transverse mode operation of double-clad CFWs and redefine the single-mode operation criterion for the double-clad structure design. The power scaling modeling of double-clad CFW shows that in order to achieve the maximum possible output power limited by the physical properties, including diode brightness, thermal lens effect, and simulated Brillion scattering, the length of waveguide is in the range of 0.5~2 meters. The length of an individual CFW is limited by single crystal growth and doping uniformity to about 100 to 200 mm lengths, and also by availability of starting crystals and manufacturing complexity. To overcome the limitation of CFW lengths, end-to-end proximity-coupling of CFWs is introduced.
Beta-Barium Borate (β-BBO) crystal is commonly used in nonlinear frequency conversion from visible to deep ultraviolet (DUV). However, in a single crystal BBO, its large spatial walk-off effect will reduce spatial overlap of ordinary and extraordinary beam, and thus degrade the conversion efficiency. To overcome the restrictions in current DUV conversion systems, Onyx applies adhesive-free bonding technique to replace the single crystal BBO with a spatial Walk-off Compensated (WOC) BBO stack, which is capable of correcting the spatial walk-off while retaining a constant nonlinear coefficient in the adjacent bonding layers. As a result, the β-BBO stack will provide good beam quality, high conversion efficiency, and broader acceptance angle and spectral linewidth, when compared with a single crystal of BBO.<p> </p> In this work, we report on performance of a spatial walk-off compensated β-BBO stack with adhesive-free bonding technique, for efficiently converting from the visible to DUV range. The physics behind the WOC BBO stack are demonstrated, followed by simulation of DUV conversion efficiency in an external resonance cavity. We also demonstrate experimentally the beam quality improvement in a 4-layer WOC BBO stack over a single BBO crystal.
Recently, double-clad crystalline fiber waveguides (CFWs), consisting of single crystalline or ceramic RE<sup>3+</sup>:YAG cores of square cross section and inner claddings of either undoped or laser-inactive-ion-doped YAG and outer claddings of sapphire, have been successfully demonstrated. These waveguides, manufactured by an Adhesive-Free Bonding (AFB®) technique, can be precisely engineered and fabricated with predictable beam propagation behavior. In this work, with high power laser designs in mind, minimum thicknesses for inner cladding are derived for different core cross sections and refractive index differences between the core and inner cladding and sapphire as outer cladding material for common laser core dopants such as Nd<sup>3+</sup>, Yb<sup>3+</sup>, Er<sup>3+</sup>, Tm<sup>3+</sup> and Ho<sup>3+</sup>. All designs are intended to use high NA high power laser diode pumping to obtain high power intrinsically single transverse mode laser output. The obtained data are applicable to any crystalline fiber waveguide design, regardless of fabrication technique. As an example, a CFW with 40 μm × 40 μm 4% Tm:YAG core, 5% Yb:YAG inner cladding, and sapphire outer cladding was calculated to be intrinsically single transverse mode, with the minimum inner cladding width of 21.7 μm determined by the effective index technique .
Power scaling analysis based on the model by Dawson et al. [1,2] for circular core fibers has been applied to estimating power scaling of crystalline fiber waveguides (CFWs) with RE<sup>3+</sup> doped single crystalline or ceramic YAG (RE=rare earth: Yb, Er, Tm and Ho). Power scaling limits include stimulated Brillouin scattering, thermal lensing effect, and limits to coupling of pump light into CFWs. The CFW designs we have considered consist, in general, of a square doped RE<sup>3+</sup>:YAG core, an inner cladding of either undoped or laser-inactive-ion-doped YAG and an outer cladding of sapphire. The presented data have been developed for the structures fabricated using the Adhesive-Free Bonding (AFB®) technique, but the results should be essentially independent of fabrication technique, assuming perfect core/inner cladding/outer cladding interfaces. Hard power scaling limits exist for a specific CFW design and are strongly based on the physical constants of the material and its spectroscopic specifics. For example, power scaling limit was determined as ~16 kW for 2.5% ceramic Yb:YAG/YAG (core material/inner cladding material) at fiber length of 1.7 m and core diameter of 69 μm. Considering the present manufacturing limit for CFW length to be, e.g., 0.5 m, the actual maximum output power will be limited to ~4.4 kW for a Yb:YAG/YAG CFW. Power limit estimates have also been computed for Er<sup>3+</sup>, Tm<sup>3+</sup> and Ho<sup>3+</sup>doped core based CFWs.
Single-clad and double-clad Yb:YAG crystalline fiber waveguides (CFWs) have been prepared with Adhesive-Free
Bonding (AFB®) technology. By using a fiber coupled laser diode as pump source, a single-mode laser with near
diffraction limited beam quality M<sup>2</sup>=1.02 has been demonstrated in a double-clad CFW. The laser output power and
efficiency are 13.2 W and 34%, respectively. In a single-clad CFW, core pumping was used. The laser output has top-hat
beam profile. An output power of 28 W and a slope efficiency of 78% have been achieved respectively.
A new solution for building high power, solid state lasers for space flight is to fabricate the whole laser resonator in a
single (monolithic) structure or alternatively to build a contiguous diffusion bonded or welded structure. Monolithic
lasers provide numerous advantages for space flight solid-state lasers by minimizing misalignment concerns. The closed
cavity is immune to contamination. The number of components is minimized thus increasing reliability. Bragg mirrors
serve as the high reflector and output coupler thus minimizing optical coatings and coating damage. The Bragg mirrors
also provide spectral and spatial mode selection for high fidelity. The monolithic structure allows short cavities resulting
in short pulses. Passive saturable absorber Q-switches provide a soft aperture for spatial mode filtering and improved
pointing stability. We will review our recent commercial and in-house developments toward fully monolithic solid-state
Double-clade crystalline fiber waveguide (CFW) has been produced by using adhesive-free bond (AFB®) technology. The waveguide consists of a 1 at.% Yb:YAG core, un-doped YAG inner cladding and ceramic spinel outer cladding. It is a direct analog of the conventional double-clad glass fiber laser in the crystal domain. Signal gain of 45 or 16.5 dB has been measured in a preliminary master oscillator power amplifier (MOPA) experiment. Due to the high laser gain and the weak Fresnel reflection at the uncoated waveguide ends, the CFW even starts self-lasing above a certain pump power. Laser output power of 4 W in the backward propagation direction has been measured for input pump power of 44 W. After considering the same amount of forward propagated laser power, the laser efficiency to the absorbed pump power is estimated to be about 44%. In principle, CFW can have extremely large single mode area for high efficiency and high power laser applications. So far, Single mode area < 6700 μm<sup>2</sup> has been demonstrated in Er:YAG CFWs.