2%Yb:CaGdAlO4 (called CALGO) presents favorable thermo-mechanical properties with quite high measured thermal conductivity (κ//c = 6.3 and κ⊥c = 6.9 W.m−1.K−1). Laser oscillations (from 1050 to 994 nm pumping at 979 nm) are demonstrated for the first time to our knowledge. This implies a very small quantum defect (down to 1.4%). A simple new figure of merit taking into account thermo-mechanical properties and quantum defect is proposed here in order to compare material resistance under high power laser pumping. Consequently, Yb:CALGO appears similar to garnets and sesquioxides with regard to laser power resistance.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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