Abstract

We report an increase in pulse energy to 5.1μJ obtained directly from a femtosecond diode-pumped Yb:YAG thin disk laser without external amplification. Stable passive mode locking was obtained with a semiconductor saturable absorber mirror (SESAM). The laser delivers 63W of average output power in a nearly diffraction-limited beam (M2=1.1) at a center wavelength of 1030nm. The pulse repetition rate is 12.3MHz, and the pulses have a duration of 800fs, which results in a peak power of 5.6MW. The laser was operated in a box flooded with helium because the nonlinearity of air was found to be a limiting factor for the stability of the pulse formation at increasing pulse energies.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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