We report a passively Q-switched all-fiber laser using a large mode area (LMA) Yb3+-doped fiber cladding-pumped at 915 nm and an unpumped single-mode Yb3+-doped fiber as the saturable absorber (SA). The saturable absorber fiber and gain fiber were coupled with a free-space telescope to optimize the coupling efficiency between the disparate fibers, preferentially bleaching the SA fiber before gain depletion in the pumped fiber. Using this scheme we first demonstrate a Q-switched oscillator with 40 μJ 79 ns pulses at 1026 nm, and show that pulses can be generated from 1020 nm to 1040 nm. The associated peak power of the oscillator alone is more than two orders of magnitude larger than that reported in previous experimental studies using an Yb3+-doped fiber as a saturable absorber. We further demonstrate an amplified pulse energy of 0.4 mJ using an Yb3+-doped cladding pumped fiber amplifier. Experimental studies in which the saturable absorber length, pump times, and wavelengths are independently varied reveal the impact of these parameters on laser performance.
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