Abstract

A new, to the best of our knowledge, 3D additive manufacturing technique utilizing particle-loaded ink jet printing to fabricate transparent ceramic Yb:YAG planar waveguides for laser gain media was demonstrated. Rheological optimization of YAG particle-loaded inks resulted in successful droplet formation and printing resolution. Planar waveguides composed of a Yb:YAG guide encased in undoped YAG cladding were printed with guide thicknesses ranging between 25 and 350 µm and consolidated to high optical quality via solid-state sintering. Sufficiently low optical (1–3%/cm) and intermodal scatter allowed single-mode propagation with a core/clad index difference of $\Delta {n}\sim{5.0} \times {{10}^{- 4}}$ (corresponding to 3 at.% Yb). The waveguides were cladding-pumped longitudinally with a 940 nm diode array resulting in 23.6% slope efficiency in 2 ms pulsed operation.

© 2021 Optical Society of America

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