The power scaling potential of solid state lasers is limited by their ability to handle the thermal load generated in the laser medium by the pumping cycle. The temperature gradients that arise from thermal loading lead to degradation in beam quality due to thermal lensing and reduced efficiency and, eventually, catastrophic failure. A number of different schemes to overcome these limitations have been implemented in the past. Some are based on managing the direction of heat flow to prevent transverse temperature gradients, such as in a thin disk laser [1]. Others lower the pump density whilst increasing the pumped volume yielding lower temperature rises and larger heat sinking potential. This technique is best demonstrated by the fibre laser.

© 2013 IEEE

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