We report the first demonstration, to our knowledge, of soft-aperture Kerr-lens mode locking in a diode-pumped femtosecond laser. Near-transform-limited pulses as short as are generated around a center wavelength of with an output power of and a pulse repetition frequency of . 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 . The nonlinear refractive indexes of the crystal have been measured to be and for the σ and π polarizations, respectively, at .
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