We have previously shown that the ceramic Yb:YAG-based edge-pumped disk laser amplifier offers significant advantages over traditional face-pumped disk amplifiers. Such amplifiers may be used in laser drivers for inertial confinement fusion, laser acceleration, and other applications, which require a combination of high-pulse energy and high-average power. Unlike face pumping, the edge-pumping architecture beneficially allows for reduced Yb doping and enables a construction of very simple, compact, and completely modular amplifiers comprising identical and interchangeable gain modules. This paper reports on the development and early testing of a Ø5-cm aperture edge-pumped ceramic Yb:YAG disk amplifier module pumped by 100-kW diodes at up to 20 Hz and cooled by a high-velocity gas flow at near ambient temperature. In early testing, the amplifier module has demonstrated very uniform transverse gain and 37 J of stored energy. A laser oscillator operating in a quasi-cw mode with 1- ms pump pulses produced 43 kW of instantaneous laser power and 31 J of energy at a wavelength of 1029 nm. Experimental results compare well to model predictions.
We report on testing of an edge-pumped ceramic Yb:YAG disk laser for pulse amplification under intense pumping. The disk has a composite construction with Yb-doped central portion cosintered with an undoped perimetral edge. Light from multi-kW pulsed diodes is transported though the disk edge and absorbed in the Yb-doped center. This configuration results in a very simple and compact laser gain module. The disk is operated as a storage amplifier. Amplified spontaneous emission and parasitic lasing is alleviated by the geometry of the laser disk edge rather than absorption cladding. Our test results indicate that this approach offers a robust mitigation of ASE. This work presents results of stored energy, gain, and ASE mitigation in the Yb:YAG disk laser under intense pumping.