CW alexandrite laser technology, as compared to pulsed alexandrite laser technology, is still in its infancy. The physical and laser properties of alexandrite have been extensively reported elsewhere.1,2 The parameter most germane to cw operation is the stimulated emission cross section-upper state lifetime product (0.7 × 10−20 cm2 × 262 μsec), which is 50-100 times smaller than in Nd:YAG, and roughly the same as in Ti:Sapphire. The low emission cross section and concomitant low gain make lamp-pumped cw operation of alexandrite challenging. In this paper we report on three areas of research: pump reflector design, rod quality characterization, and optical resonator design, which have led to improved performance of cw alexandrite lasers.

© 1989 Optical Society of America

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