We present measurements of the slope efficiency and the pump power at threshold for a number of Tm3+-doped silica double-clad fiber lasers that incorporate fibers that have a range of Tm3+ concentrations. We obtain a slope efficiency for the ∼2-μm 3H4 → 3H6 laser transition that is greater than the Stokes efficiency limit for a Tm3+ concentration as low as 1.3 wt. %. These results indicate that the cross relaxation process, 3F4, 3H6 → 3H4, 3H4, has a significant effect on the efficiency of the laser despite the relatively short lifetime of the 3F4 energy level. Energy migration of the excitation at the 3F4 level through the process 3F4, 3H6 → 3H6, 3F4 may be enhancing the cross-relaxation mechanism. We also show the importance of reducing the level of clustering of the Tm3+ ion when it is doped into silica by use of appropriate amounts of Al3+ codopant. For Tm3+ concentrations of >1 wt. %, Al3+/Tm3+ concentration ratios of >10 are recommended for reducing scattering losses, quenching the 3H4 lifetime, or both.
© 2003 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: October 8, 2002
Revised Manuscript: December 23, 2002
Published: May 20, 2003
Stuart D. Jackson and Simon Mossman, "Efficiency dependence on the Tm3+ and Al3+ concentrations for Tm3+-doped silica double-clad fiber lasers," Appl. Opt. 42, 2702-2707 (2003)