The gain/loss spectra of ytterbium-erbium-doped laser glasses have been investigated in the 1.5-µm region. A direct experimental method has been developed for determining the population of the excited metastable 4I13/2 level, the contour of the gain/loss spectrum, and its variation at various pumping levels. The experimental and calculated spectra are compared. © 2003 Optical Society of America

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