A tunable, lamp-pumped Cr<sup>3+</sup>:LiCaAlF<sub>6</sub> laser that operates in the 760–800-nm wavelength range is demonstrated. As a passive <i>Q</i> switch the V<sup>3+</sup>:YAG crystal, characterized by wide saturable absorption in the 760–900-nm wavelength range, was applied. The V<sup>3+</sup>:YAG parameters were determined by spectroscopic and saturable transmission measurements. The 30-mJ output energy at 2-Hz repetition rate in the free-running regime was obtained in a cavity reinforced by a diaphragm near the fundamental mode. The dispersive prism inserted into the cavity enabled tuning in the 760–800-nm wavelength range. In the passive <i>Q</i>-switching regime we achieved greater than 1-mJ energy with 50-ns pulse duration in a 35-cm-long cavity. A numerical model that takes into account the short recovery time of V<sup>3+</sup>:YAG (~5 ns) and excited-state absorption was used to analyze such a laser.
© 2001 Optical Society of America
(140.3540) Lasers and laser optics : Lasers, Q-switched
(140.3600) Lasers and laser optics : Lasers, tunable
(140.5680) Lasers and laser optics : Rare earth and transition metal solid-state lasers
(160.5320) Materials : Photorefractive materials
Jan K. Jabczyński, Waldemar Zendzian, Zygmunt Mierczyk, and Zygmunt Frukacz, "Chromium-Doped LiCAF Laser Passively Q Switched with a V3+:YAG Crystal," Appl. Opt. 40, 6638-6645 (2001)