Abstract

Gain competition is analyzed theoretically on coupled stimulated emission transitions in Λ-type configurations of excited atoms and compared with experimental observations in electrically and optically pumped random media. Under steady-state conditions, we predict and observe dramatic spectral quenching among F522 transitions in electron-beam-irradiated Nd3+:δ-Al2O3 nanopowders, identifying a simple mechanism that promotes laser action at the longest wavelength (405nm). In optically pumped Nd3+:Y2O3 nanopowder, simultaneous laser action is observed at two previously unreported wavelengths of Nd3+ (763 and 821nm), but spectral quenching is not observed, owing to the absence of Λ coupling among the inverted transitions. Quantitative analysis of quenching and threshold behavior in the case of Nd3+:δ-Al2O3 indicates that in wavelength-sized volumes of these light-confining media the average storage time of light may be as long as 30ps.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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