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Upconversion-induced heat generation and thermal lensing in Nd:YLF and Nd:YAG

By M. Pollnau, P.J. Hardman, M.A. Kern, W.A. Clarkson and D.C. Hanna

Abstract

We investigate the influence of interionic upconversion between neighboring ions in the upper laser level of Nd:YLF and Nd:YAG on population dynamics, heat generation, and thermal lensing under lasing and non-lasing conditions. It is shown that cascaded multiphonon relaxations following each upconversion process generate significant extra heat dissipation in the crystal under non-lasing compared to lasing conditions. Owing to the unfavorable temperature dependence of thermal and thermo-optical parameters, this leads, firstly, to a significant temperature increase in the rod, secondly, to strong thermal lensing with pronounced spherical aberrations and, ultimately, to rod fracture in a high-power end-pumped system. In a three-dimensional finite-element calculation, excitation densities, upconversion rates, heat generation temperature profiles, and thermal lensing are calculated. Differences in thermal lens power between non-lasing and lasing conditions up to a factor of six in Nd:YLF and up to a factor of two in Nd:YAG are experimentally observed and explained by the calculation. This results in a strong deterioration in performance when operating these systems in a Q-switched regime, as an amplifier, or on a low-gain transition. Methods to decrease the influence of interionic upconversion are discussed. It is shown that tuning of the pump wavelength can significantly alter the rod temperature

Topics: TK, QC
Year: 1998
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.soton.ac.uk:77860
Provided by: e-Prints Soton

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