We have demonstrated 175-fs pulses with 1 W and 300-fs pulses with 1.2 W of average output power at a pulse repetition rate of 117 MHz from a Nd:phosphate (Schott LG 760) glass laser pumped by a 1-cm-wide, 20-W diode laser bar. Stable soliton mode locking was achieved by use of an intracavity semiconductor saturable absorber mirror. We obtained more than 2 W of average power without mode locking. Using cylindrical cavity mirrors, we adapted the laser mode inside the Nd:glass to the highly elliptical pump beam in both dimensions (tangential and sagittal axes) while maintaining a nearly ideal circular TEM<sub>00</sub> output beam with <i>M</i><sup>2</sup>≈1.2 . Overpumping the laser mode in the tangential plane and efficient unidirectional heat removal in the sagittal plane using a 0.8-mm thin Nd:glass also contributed to the good output-beam quality.
© 1998 Optical Society of AmericaPDF Article