Abstract

A detailed comparison of the influence of pumping wavelength and crystal doping concentration on the performance of Nd:YVO4 amplifiers is developed through theoretical analysis. The effect of energy transfer upconversion and the strong temperature dependence of the emission cross section were taken into account. This study showed the interest of 808 nm pumping with low doping concentration crystals and the importance of the crystal temperature for the design of a high gain amplifier. Using these conclusions, we built a picosecond Nd:YVO4 master oscillator power amplifier reaching 10 W output power for only 50 mW of seed at 200 kHz in a single pass, single stage configuration. With a pulse duration of 22 ps, it corresponds to an output pulse energy of 50 μJ and to a peak power of 2.3 MW. With a same setup, a single pass small signal gain over 45 dB has been measured, and near 50% extraction efficiency was reached for a seed power of 3.5 W. The influence of the Nd:YVO4 amplifier temperature on the output power was also studied for different levels of gain saturation.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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