Abstract

The semiconductor antiresonant Fabry–Perot saturable absorber (A-FPSA) has a bitemporal absorption response with a slow time component that is due to carrier recombination and a fast time component that is due to intraband thermalization. We demonstrate that the slow component provides the self-starting mechanism and without significant Kerr lens contribution the fast component is necessary for steady-state pulse formation in passively cw mode-locked solid-state lasers. The carrier lifetime of the bitemporal A-FPSA was varied by the molecular-beam-epitaxy growth temperature to characterize its influence on the self-starting and self-Q-switching dynamics of cw mode-locked Nd:YLF and Nd:YAG lasers. The A-FPSA carrier lifetime and the top reflector of the A-FPSA can be adjusted to optimize the self-starting performance and to prevent self-Q-switching of cw mode-locked solid-state lasers.

© 1993 Optical Society of America

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