Using a novel Q-Switching technique, we have produced 6-ns output pulses from a single-mode Nd:YAG microchip laser pumped with 120 mW of CW optical power. Rate-equation analysis indicates that with a pump power of 500 mW, Q-switched Nd:YAG microchip lasers having subnanosecond pulses and peak powers of several kilowatts are feasible. A small modification to the Q-switched microchip laser results in a polarization-switchable device. With such a device, we have switched the polarization of a microchip laser in under 5 μs, and theoretical modeling indicates that switching rates of several megahertz are possible.

© 1991 Optical Society of America

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