We have developed a versatile and inexpensive edge cladding for disk amplifiers based on silicone rubber. Disk amplifiers require edge claddings on each laser disk to prevent feedback of amplified spontaneous emission (ASE) internal to the disks. Measurements on a 31.5-cm aperture disk amplifier indicate that single-pass ASE alone reduces stored energy by one-third at peak gain. Feedback from the disk edge allows additional passes for ASE, rapidly increasing the loss of stored energy and opening the possibility of parasitic lasing internal to the disks. Current glass edge claddings as used on Novette and Nova perform extremely well but are very expensive and must be reformulated for each different laser glass type. We plan to test several different laser glasses in large aperture disk amplifiers and, therefore, developed the rubber-based cladding to avoid the time and expense associated with several new glass claddings.

© 1984 Optical Society of America

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