We present the results of a cw diode-pumped Nd:YVO<sub>4</sub> laser oscillator based on a self-starting adaptive gain-grating resonator. Adaptive laser operation has been demonstrated with 12-W output for 37 W of diode pumping, producing a TEM<sub>00</sub> mode that compensates for thermal aberrations. The issue of the finite aperture of the amplifier is discussed, and a design that incorporates an intracavity lens is used to improve the collection efficiency with severe thermal lensing at high pump powers. The powers of the beams involved in the resonator are compared with theory and are found to be in good agreement. Spectral and temporal behavior of the adaptive laser is investigated, and very interesting behavior is shown, including self-induced temporal modulation dynamics and a switching between a narrowband and a broad bandwidth of operation.
© 2002 Optical Society of America
(090.1000) Holography : Aberration compensation
(140.3480) Lasers and laser optics : Lasers, diode-pumped
(140.3530) Lasers and laser optics : Lasers, neodymium
(190.4380) Nonlinear optics : Nonlinear optics, four-wave mixing
(190.5040) Nonlinear optics : Phase conjugation
Benjamin A. Thompson, Ara Minassian, Robert W. Eason, and Michael J. Damzen, "Efficient Operation of a Solid-State Adaptive Laser Oscillator," Appl. Opt. 41, 5638-5644 (2002)