Experiments at room temperature were carried out to study the higher order processes that produced visible fluorescence observed in Nd: YLF laser crystals pumped by lasers between 785 nm and 811 nm. These processes were the energy transfer up-conversion, the excited state absorptions of both pump and laser radiation. A model was developed based upon rate equations to describe these higher order processes. The experimental results agreed well with the model’s predictions. We conclude that the energy transfer up-conversion process and the excited state (4G7/2) absorption of the laser radiation play major roles in these higher order processes, which have impact on the performance of Q-switched lasers and pulse amplifications when the pump power density is of the order of 40 kW/cm2, or the stored energy density is of the order of 60 J/cm3.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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