Abstract

We report the first demonstration, to our knowledge, of soft-aperture Kerr-lens mode locking in a diode-pumped femtosecond Yb3+:YVO4 laser. Near-transform-limited pulses as short as 61fs are generated around a center wavelength of 1050nm with an output power of 54mW and a pulse repetition frequency of 104.5MHz. This is, to our knowledge, the shortest pulse generated directly from an Yb laser having a crystalline host material. The femtosecond operation has a mode-locking threshold at an absorbed pump power of 190mW. The nonlinear refractive indexes of the Yb3+:YVO4 crystal have been measured to be 19×1016cm2W and 15×1016cm2W for the σ and π polarizations, respectively, at 1080nm.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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