Solid-state lasers have traditionally been pumped by pulsed flashlamps or cw arc lamps, but diode lasers are increasingly being used for optical excitation. Diode laser pumps cannot only serve as a direct replacement for lamps, but can also allow new regimes of laser operation that are unattainable with lamp pumping. Some of the significant attributes of diode lasers as pump sources relative to lamps are their much higher spatial and spectral brightness, high electrical-to-optical efficiency, long lifetime, and flexibility in temporal waveform. These attributes have enabled the demonstration of highly efficient solid-state lasers, 20%, narrow linewidths, <1 Hz, compact high-power lasers, and fiber lasers and amplifiers. The impact of diode-laser pumps on solid-state laser performance will be discussed and examples of novel laser sources will be presented.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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