Abstract

We report what is to our knowledge the first 3?µm fiber laser of the 1-W class. 1.7 W of output power and 17.3% slope efficiency (with respect to the launched pump power) at a wavelength of 2.71 µm are demonstrated from a double-clad erbium-doped ZBLAN fiber diode pumped at 790 nm. Energy transfer from the Er3+ lower laser level to a Pr3+ codopant decreases ground-state bleaching and excited-state absorption, thus avoiding output-power saturation. This result represents more than an order-of-magnitude improvement over previous work of which we are aware. Advantages over current crystal-laser designs include nearly transverse-fundamental-mode operation, reduced thermal effects, and ease of use, e.g., in medical endoscopy.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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