We present quantitative interferometric measurements of thermal lensing in diode-pumped Nd:YVO4 crystals with and without laser action. When laser action was inhibited the thermal loading was increased significantly. The fraction of absorbed power deposited as heat was found to be strongly dependent on upper laser-level loss mechanisms (ie. non-radiative decay, concentration-dependant quenching and Auger recombination).

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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