Abstract

The high-resolution spectroscopic and emission-decay investigation of highly concentrated (up to 9 at. %) Nd:YAG ceramics indicates that the state of the Nd3+ ion in these materials is similar to that of diluted crystals. The increased relative intensities of the spectral satellites connected with ensembles of Nd ions in near-lattice sites at high Nd concentrations CNd is consistent with the predictions of the statistics of the random placement of these ions at the available lattice sites. The room-temperature transmission spectra show that the resonant pump in the emitting level  4F3/2, including the hot-band pump Z2R1 and Z3R2, can be efficient at high CNd, with important effects in the reduction of the pump quantum defect and of the corresponding heat generation under the pump. The accelerated  4F3/2 emission decay at high CNd is consistent with the increased efficiency of the energy transfer, including the contribution of migration-assisted transfer processes. The calculated emission quantum efficiency η and the figure of merit ηCNd indicate that the concentrated Nd:YAG components can be used for construction of efficient solid-state lasers in free-generation or low-storage regimes, and, coupled with the hot-band resonant pump in the emitting level, they could enable the scaling of Nd:YAG lasers to high powers.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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