We have explored the impact of 266 nm pump-induced solarization on the 290 nm laser performance of Ce:LiSrAlF6 crystals. Among the issues considered are the incorporation of codopants (e.g. Na+, Mg2+, Zn2+), and the use of an additional 532 nm beam to rapidly destroy the interfering color centers. The solarization mechanism has been unraveled and found to involve two-photon creation of color centers (via the 4f → 5d → conduction band pathway of Ce3+), followed by the one-photon bleaching of the color centers. Ce:LiSrAlF6 (Ce:LiSAF) laser slope efficiencies as high as 47% can be achieved with the simultaneous introduction of the 266 nm pump and 532 nm bleaching beams; 33% with the 266 nm beam only.
© 1996 Optical Society of AmericaPDF Article