Previous works on Ytterbium-doped alcaline-earth fluoride have impressively shown that these materials are suitable for high-peak power operation [1,2] due to their broad emission spectrum comparable with rare-earth doped laser glasses. From the scaling point of view Yb:CaF2 is the most promising material since crystal growth at large sizes with diameters up to 100 mm and more with high optical quality have been demonstrated so far. Also the thermo-mechanical and thermo-optical properties such as the negative thermal lens of Yb:CaF2 are superior for high-average power lasers [3]. Moreover, the high saturation fluence (i.e. 80 J/cm2) pushes the potential energy limit of thin disk lasers by about one order of magnitude compared to oxide laser materials such as Yb:YAG. This means that at a given stored energy parasitic lasing is reduced by a low transverse gain [4]. However, the low single-pass gain of Yb:CaF2 lasers must compensated by a large number of amplifier passes.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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