Abstract

Several drawbacks of a cw-pumped mode-locked Nd:LiYF4 laser are outlined, and it is shown how to overcome them. For the first time, attention is paid to thermally induced astigmatism and its compensation in a Nd:LiYF4 rod. An optimized system generates an average output power similar to that of a typical Nd:YAG laser, however, with an increased stability and with pulse durations that are significantly shorter. The higher peak power in Nd:LiYF4 can result in a higher conversion efficiency in a frequency-doubling process, provided the doubling crystal can handle the high average power. It will be demonstrated that a well-engineered Nd:LiYF4 system may become the preferred choice for many applications, including seeding regenerative amplifiers and pumping synchronously mode-locked dye laser oscillators and amplifiers.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

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