Abstract

Using the formalism of mode overlap, a theoretical analysis of optically pumped fiber laser amplifiers and oscillators is developed. The concept of normalized overlap coefficients is introduced to account for the effects of the transverse structure of the interacting signal and pump modes on the device characteristics. Simple and accurate closed-form expressions are derived for the gain of fiber amplifiers and the threshold and energy conversion efficiency of fiber laser oscillators in terms of the fiber and laser material parameters and the pump and signal modes. When applied to step-index Nd:YAG fiber lasers, this study predicts optimum fundamental mode oscillation in fibers with a V number of 5–25 with submilliwatt thresholds and nearly quantum-limited conversion efficiencies.

© 1985 Optical Society of America

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