Abstract

A comparative theoretical analysis of continuously pumped actively Q-switched solid-state lasers differing in output coupling methods (cavity dumping versus a partially transmitting cavity mirror) is presented. Basic performance characteristics of the optimally coupled laser for periodic steady-state operation are expressed analytically. The instability effects are shown to fundamentally inhere in cavity dumping in contrast to ordinary Q-switching. The space of system parameters permitting stable operation and the maximum average power attainable as a train of regular energy pulses are determined numerically and verified experimentally. Cavity dumping is demonstrated to be the coupling method allowing Q-switched lasers to reach extremely high repetition rates.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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