An Nd:YAG triple-pass ring amplifier was developed to amplify low power picosecond pulses to high energy. The unique design eliminated optics coupled parasitic oscillations. The amplifier had a small signal gain in excess of 8x10^ and was used in conjunction with a low power, Q-switched, actively mode-locked oscillator and an electro-optic switch-out system to amplify single 0.7 mJ pulses of 500 psec duration to an energy of 400 mJ in an approximately 2 times diffraction limited pulse. This pulse was then frequency doubled in a KD*P type II crystal with 42% net energy conversion efficiency. The output pulse was synchronized to an external master trigger with a jitter of +/- 6 nsec and used as a long delay (> 500 nsec delay) probe beam for diagnosing laser produced plasmas produced with the Pharos III laser.

© 1992 Optical Society of America

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