In addition to one photon absorption and fluorescence in rare earth and transition metal ion doped crystals and glasses, a number of other processes can occur such as two-step excitation and energy transfer which may affect laser operation. For example, concentration quenching in Nd3+ doped materials is an energy transfer phenomenon, and energy transfer or two-step excitation can convert infrared photons to visible fluorescence1 or visible lasers2. It has also been shown that energy transfer upconversion (ETU), also known as Auger recombination, can increase laser threshold and change laser dynamics3. Both sequential two-step excitation (STEP) and energy transfer upconversion (ETU) have been identified in Nd3+ doped materials. These two processes are shown in Fig. 1. STEP involves absorption of one photon to put an ion in an excited-state, then excited-state absorption (ESA) of a second photon to an even higher lying level. In ETU, two ions which are in excited-states interact causing one ion to relax while the other is simultaneously excited to a higher state.

© 1986 Optical Society of America

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