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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


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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