Intracavity gain gratings are theoretically demonstrated to exhibit diffraction efficiencies that are 100 times larger than unity at pump powers substantially below the lasing threshold. Experiments performed using a microlaser pumped below threshold by two interfering Ti:sapphire laser beams are described. Huge enhancement of the diffraction efficiency and a large increase of the angular selectivity are demonstrated despite the angular reduction of the Fabry–Perot cavity finesse. Much better results are expected using gain gratings with larger areas or thinner cavities such as vertical cavity surface-emitting lasers. Such large fan-out values could be very interesting for applications to optical signal processing.
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