Abstract

By using the natural birefringence of an a-cut Nd:GdVO4 crystal, we experimentally investigate laser operation under different light polarizations (π- and σ-polarized emissions) and compare their performance. The laser performance is further compared with a diode-pumped c-cut Nd:GdVO4 laser of the same parameters. We show experimentally that the c-cut Nd:GdVO4 laser could have good passively Q-switched performance in a low-pump-power region but is influenced by other intrinsic laser effects, such as the thermally induced cavity losses; its performance is severely degraded under high pump power. The best passively Q-switched performance obtained in our experiments is from the a-cut π-polarized laser, which gives the narrowest pulse of 5.4ns with the highest peak power of 20kW. Our experimental results show that, to achieve the best performance of the passively Q-switched laser operation, an overall consideration of laser parameters is important.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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