Abstract

There are a number of transition metal ion lasers that are well suited as an ultrafast pulse source including Cr4+:YAG, Cr:forsterite, and Ti:sapphire lasers. However, production costs must be reduced if these lasers are to find widespread use in medical or industrial fields for such applications as THz-wave generation, multiphoton microscopy, and nonlinear Raman microscopy. Some cost-reduction will be realized by changing the pump sources of these lasers from solid-state lasers to laser diodes (LDs). With the Cr4+:YAG laser, direct LD-pumped SESAM-mode-locking has been reported using a bulk crystal emitting a 15-mW output of 62-fs pulses [1]. The aim of this research project is to improve the output of a direct LD-pumped mode-locked Cr4+:YAG laser provided with a saturable absorber. The key component is a single-crystal fiber. A fiber about 120 mm in diameter and 40 mm long has been prepared using the laser heated pedestal growth method. After crystal production, a 1-mm-thick SiO2 cladding layer is deposited. This layer can confine diffusive high-power LD light within the fiber along the entire fiber length. However, we must find a way to select the fundamental transverse oscillation mode because the fiber waveguide can support a large number of transverse modes. This research project has proposed a solution that employs the combination of the crystal fiber and an external cavity. The first femtosecond oscillation attempt with a single-crystal fiber laser was conducted with a solid-state pumping laser (Nd:YVO4 laser). The experiment was turned out to be successful as reported in [2]. The project now proceeds to a test with direct LD-pumping, and this report describes promising results.

© 2015 IEEE

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