Abstract

We study thermally induced birefringence in crystalline Nd:YAG zigzag slab lasers and the associated depolarization losses. The optimum crystallographic orientation of the zigzag slab within the Nd:YAG boule and photoelastic effects in crystalline Nd:YAG slabs are briefly discussed. The depolarization is evaluated using the temperature and stress distributions, calculated using a finite element model, for realistically pumped and cooled slabs of finite dimensions. Jones matrices are then used to calculate the depolarization of the zigzag laser mode. We compare the predictions with measurements of depolarization, and suggest useful criteria for the design of the gain media for such lasers.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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