Abstract: Abstract A low quantum defect is the fundamental key to a high efficiency of any laser. To study the anticipated performance boost for a 980 nm-diode pumped cryogenically cooled Yb:CaF2 disk laser we compared its operation at output wavelengths of 991 nm, 996 nm, and 1032 nm. Despite the higher quantum defect a maximum efficiency of 74% (output versus incident power) with an output power of 15.8 W was achieved at the 1032 nm output wavelength. This observation led to a detailed analysis of remaining loss mechanisms we are reporting on in this paper.
Abstract: We present a novel approach for the amplification of high peak power femtosecond laser pulses at a high repetition rate. This approach is based on an all-diode pumped burst mode laser scheme. In this scheme, pulse bursts with a total duration between 1 and 2 ms are be generated and amplified. They contain 50 to 2000 individual pulses equally spaced in time. The individual pulses have an initial duration of 350 fs and are stretched to 50 ps prior to amplification. The amplifier stage is based on Yb3+:CaF2 cooled to 100 K. In this amplifier, a total output energy in excess of 600 mJ per burst at a repetition rate of 10 Hz is demonstrated. For lower repetition rates the total output energy per burst can be scaled up to 915 mJ using a longer pump duration. This corresponds to an efficiency as high as 25% of extracted energy from absorbed pump energy. This is the highest efficiency, which has so far been demonstrated for a pulsed Yb3+:CaF2 amplifier.
Abstract: We present a novel approach for the construction of a high energy, high power burst mode laser system, based on diode pumped cryogenically cooled Yb:CaF2. The system consists of a frontend producing pulses of 300 fs duration with 1 MHz. Bursts of 1000 subsequent pulses are cut from the continuous train by an electro optical modulator. Afterwards the duration of the individual pulses is stretched to 50 ps.
The amplifier system consists of two amplifiers. Both amplifiers utilize mirror based relay imaging schemes to allow for a sufficient number of extraction passes for achieving efficient energy extraction. The goal parameters of the system are to achieve a total energy of 5 J per burst with a repetition rate of 10Hz.
Amplification results for the first of two amplifiers are demonstrated. A total output energy of 480 mJ was achieved corresponding to an optical to optical efficiency from absorbed pump energy to extracted energy of more than 17%. Single pulse energies of up to 7.5mJ are generated when changing to less pulses per burst.
To achieve a constant energy from pulse to pulse during the burst we present a technique based on the modulation of the laser diode current during one pulse. With this technique the gain variation during the burst was than 5% peak to peak.
Abstract: Accurate values of the emission and absorption cross sections of Yb:YAG, Yb:LuAG, and Yb:CaF_2 as a function of temperature between room temperature and 200 °C are presented. For this purpose, absorption and fluorescence spectra were measured using a setup optimized to reduce the effect of radiation trapping. From these data, emission cross sections were retrieved by combining the Fuchtbauer–Ladenburg equation and the reciprocity method. Based on our measurements, simple estimations illustrate the effect of temperature shifts that are likely to occur in typical laser setups. Our results show that even minor temperature variations can have significant impact on the laser performance using Yb:YAG and Yb:LuAG as an active medium, while Yb:CaF_2 appears to be rather insensitive.
Abstract: We present the setup of a polarization rotating device and its adaption for high-power short-pulse laser systems. Compared to conventional halfwave plates, the all-reflective principle using three zero-phase shift mirrors provides a higher accuracy and a higher damage threshold. Since plan-parallel plates, e.g. these halfwave plates, generate postpulses, which could lead to the generation of prepulses during the subsequent laser chain, the presented device avoids parasitic pulses and is therefore the preferable alternative for high-contrast applications. Moreover the device is easily scalable for large beam diameters and its spectral reflectivity can be adjusted by an appropriate mirror coating to be well suited for ultra-short laser pulses.