Multi-watt in-plane diode-pumped waveguide lasers

EPSRC, 2000-2003

High-power, diode-pumped, solid state lasers are finding an increasing number of applications in various industrial and scientific sectors. However, the non-diffraction-limited and asymmetric nature of the output of diode-bars normally requires the use of rather complicated and expensive beam shaping to allow efficient pumping of either bulk or fibre media. In collaboration with Onyx Optics, we successfully showed that active planar waveguides as the laser host were ideally suited to the out put of diode bars, even allowing direct in plane proximity coupling. Along with the advantages normally associated with waveguides - high gain per unit pump power and good spatial overlap - the planar geometry is also ideally suited for handling the high thermal load associated with high power devices. These systems lend themselves to integration of novel resonators, Q-switching functions, polarisation control etc., thus leading to highly compact and versatile, high-power, lasers. We demonstrated multi-watt, near diffraction-limited, diode-pumped waveguide lasers at 1um (Nd,Yb), 2um Tm, and 3um (Er), with a simple and very compact design.

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Copyright University of Southampton 2006