A highly efficient ytterbium-free erbium-doped silicate glass fiber has been developed for high-power fiber laser applications at an eye-safe wavelength near 1.55 μm. Our preliminary experiments show that high laser efficiency can be obtained from a relatively short length of the gain fiber when resonantly pumped at 1535 nm in both core- and cladding-pumping configurations. With a core-pumping configuration as high as 75%, optical-to-optical efficiency and 4 W output power were obtained at 1560 nm from a 1 m long gain fiber. When using a cladding-pumping configuration, approximately 13 W output power with 67.7% slope efficiency was demonstrated from a piece of 2 m long fiber. The lengths of silicate-based gain fiber are much shorter than their silica-based counterparts used in other experiments, which is significantly important for high-power narrow-band and/or pulsed laser applications.
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