Abstract

Optical triggering via direct bleaching of a Cr:YAG saturable absorber was applied to a monolithic Nd:YAG/Cr:YAG laser crystal. The method uses a single laser diode bar to bleach a thin sheet within the saturable absorber from a direction orthogonal to the lasing axis. By placing the Q-switch at the time corresponding to the steepest slope (dT/dt) for change in transmission during bleaching, the pulse-to-pulse timing jitter showed a 13.2× reduction in standard deviation, from 132ns for free-running operation to 10ns with optical triggering. We measured that a fluence of 60kW/cm2 was sufficient to enable optical triggering, where a diode appropriately sized for the length of the Cr:YAG (3mm) would then require only 150W of optical power over a 12μs duration to enable effective jitter reduction. Additionally, we measured an increase in optical-to-optical efficiency with optical triggering, where the efficiency improved from 12% to 13.5%.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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