We report on the design and implementation of a prototype of optical waveguides fabricated in Nd:YAG crystals by using femtosecond-laser irradiation. In this prototype, two concentric tubular structures with nearly circular cross sections of different diameters have been inscribed in the Nd:YAG crystals, generating double-cladding waveguides. Under 808 nm optical pumping, waveguide lasers have been realized in the double-cladding structures. Compared with single-cladding waveguides, the concentric tubular structures, benefiting from the large pump area of the outermost cladding, possess both superior laser performance and nearly single-mode beam profile in the inner cladding. Double-cladding waveguides of the same size were fabricated and coated by a thin optical film, and a maximum output power of 384 mW and a slope efficiency of 46.1% were obtained. Since the large diameters of the outer claddings are comparable with those of the optical fibers, this prototype paves a way to construct an integrated single-mode laser system with a direct fiber-waveguide configuration.
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