The output of pulsed, homogeneously broadened amplified spontaneous emission (ASE) lasers operating under conditions of strong saturation is considered. An expression for the maximum power (energy) per unit volume that may be extracted from steady-state (pulsed) systems is derived and shown to be independent of the saturation intensity. Numerical calculations of the temporal evolution of the populations in the laser levels and the growth in the ASE fluence, peak intensity, and spectral width are presented for three types of laser system: quasi steady state, short pump pulses, and self-termination. In all cases the growth in the fluence of the ASE pulse is found to agree with an analytic solution derived for conditions of strong saturation. The calculated growth in intensity of the ASE pulse is compared with expressions derived by Pert [J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 11, 1425 (1994)] for the steady-state case. As expected, good agreement is found for the quasi-steady-state system, but in the limit of strong saturation significant differences occur for the short pump pulse and self-terminating laser systems considered. For all cases considered, the variation of the spectral width of the ASE pulse is found to be in reasonable agreement with that predicted by Pert for steady-state conditions.
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