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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: Michael Duncan
  • Vol. 13, Iss. 16 — Aug. 8, 2005
  • pp: 5983–5987
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Experimental study of thermally induced depolarization in Nd:YAG ceramics

I. B. Mukhin, O. V. Palashov, E. A. Khazanov, A. Ikesue, and Yan Lin Aung  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Express, Vol. 13, Issue 16, pp. 5983-5987 (2005)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OPEX.13.005983


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Abstract

Spatial modulation of a laser beam with a transverse size of the order of one grain size is experimentally found at thermal depolarization in Nd:YAG ceramics. This effect, which was theoretically predicted earlier, is typical for ceramics only, with no analogs either in glasses or in single crystals.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

1. Introduction

Recently, increasing attention has been focused on the use of polycrystalline ceramics made of cubic crystals as an active medium (see Refs. [1–5

1. A. Ikesue, T. Kinoshita, K. Kamata, and K. Yoshida, “Fabrication and optical properties of high -performance polycrystalline Nd:YAG ceramics for solid-state lasers,” J. Am. Ceram. Soc. 78, 1033 (1995). [CrossRef]

] and references therein), as Q-switchers (Cr:YAG) [6

6. K. Takaichi, J. R. Lu, T. Murai, T. Uematsu, A Shirakawa, K. Ueda, H. Yagi, T. Yanagitani, and A. A. Kaminskii, “Chromium doped Y3A15O12 ceramics - a novel saturable absorber for passively self-Q-switched one-micron solid state lasers,” Jpn. J. Appl. Phys. 41, L96 (2002). [CrossRef]

], and as a magneto-optic medium in Faraday isolators (TGG, TAG, TSAG) [7

7. M. A. Kagan and E. A. Khazanov, “Features of compensation of thermally induced depolarization in polycrystalline Nd:YAG ceramic,” Quantum Electron. 33, 876 (2003). [CrossRef]

,8

8. M. A. Kagan and E. A. Khazanov, “Thermally induced birefringence in Faraday devices made from terbium gallium garnet-polycrystalline ceramics,” Appl. Opt. 43, 6030 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. Despite poor optical quality of the first TGG ceramic samples, there is no difficulty, in principle, in creating high-quality magneto-optic ceramics. Modern technology allows fabrication of ceramic optical elements with good optical quality, large aperture, and high concentration of doped ions. Ceramics have a unique set of properties that single crystals and glass do not possess. For lasers with high power (average and peak), ceramics offer three major advantages: First, they have a large aperture, like that in glass (450 mm [9

9. J. Lu, M. Prabhu, J. Xu, K. Ueda, H. Yagi, T. Yanagitani, and A. A. Kaminskii, “Highly efficient 2% Nd:yttrium aluminum garnet ceramic laser,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 77, 3707 (2000). [CrossRef]

]), and high thermal conductivity like that in single crystals. Second, ceramics can be made of crystals that cannot be grown as single crystals, in principle, but have good properties such as Nd:Y2O3, TAG, TSAG, and so on. Third, the thermal shock parameter in ceramics is three times as that in single crystals [10

10. K. Ueda, “Ceramic lasers for IFE power plant,” in Proceedings of International Conference on Lasers, Applications, and Technologies, 2005.

]. It is therefore very promising to employ ceramics in high-power lasers. Thus the investigation of thermal effects, including polarization effects, in ceramic optical elements becomes important.

Thermally induced birefringence in Nd:YAG ceramics was experimentally studied for the first time in Refs. [2

2. I. Shoji, Y. Sato, S. Kurimura, V. Lupei, T. Taira, A. Ikesue, and K. Yoshida, “Thermal - birefringence -induced depolarization in Nd: YAG ceramics,” Opt. Lett. 27, 234 (2002). [CrossRef]

,11

11. I. Shoji, S. Kurimura, Y. Sato, T. Taira, A. Ikesue, and K. Yoshida, “Thermal birefringence in Nd3+-doped YAG ceramics,” in Proceedings of Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, 2001, p. 560.

,12

12. J. Lu, T. Murai, K. Takaichi, T. Uematsu, K. Misawa, M. Prabhu, J. Xu, K. Ueda, H. Yagi, T. Yanagitani, A. A. Kaminskii, and A. Kudryashov, “72 W Nd: Y3Al5O12 ceramic laser,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 78, 3586 (2001). [CrossRef]

]. The results of these studies show that depolarization in ceramics is similar to that in a single crystal with the [111] orientation. However, no theoretical verification of this fact was reported. Moreover, as pointed out in [4

4. E. A. Khazanov, “Thermally induced birefringence in Nd:YAG ceramics,” Opt. Lett. 27, 716 (2002). [CrossRef]

], the authors of Refs. [11

11. I. Shoji, S. Kurimura, Y. Sato, T. Taira, A. Ikesue, and K. Yoshida, “Thermal birefringence in Nd3+-doped YAG ceramics,” in Proceedings of Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, 2001, p. 560.

,12

12. J. Lu, T. Murai, K. Takaichi, T. Uematsu, K. Misawa, M. Prabhu, J. Xu, K. Ueda, H. Yagi, T. Yanagitani, A. A. Kaminskii, and A. Kudryashov, “72 W Nd: Y3Al5O12 ceramic laser,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 78, 3586 (2001). [CrossRef]

] interpreted their experimental findings based on an erroneous assumption that the thermally induced birefringence is independent of the orientation of crystallographic axes.

In its general form the problem of thermally induced birefringence at an arbitrary orientation of the crystal was solved analytically in Ref. [13

13. E. Khazanov, N. Andreev, O. Palashov, A. Poteomkin, A. Sergeev, O. Mehl, and D. Reitze, “Effect of terbium gallium garnet crystal orientation on the isolation ratio of a Faraday isolator at high average power,” Appl. Opt. 41, 483 (2002). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. The orientation of crystallographic axes of each ceramic grain is random, leading to random nature of the depolarization in ceramics, as was first reported in Ref. [4

4. E. A. Khazanov, “Thermally induced birefringence in Nd:YAG ceramics,” Opt. Lett. 27, 716 (2002). [CrossRef]

]. In this and subsequent theoretical studies [7

7. M. A. Kagan and E. A. Khazanov, “Features of compensation of thermally induced depolarization in polycrystalline Nd:YAG ceramic,” Quantum Electron. 33, 876 (2003). [CrossRef]

,8

8. M. A. Kagan and E. A. Khazanov, “Thermally induced birefringence in Faraday devices made from terbium gallium garnet-polycrystalline ceramics,” Appl. Opt. 43, 6030 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

], a theory of thermally induced birefringence in ceramics was developed, and analytical expressions for depolarization of radiation both in initially isotropic elements (active elements, Q-switchers) [4

4. E. A. Khazanov, “Thermally induced birefringence in Nd:YAG ceramics,” Opt. Lett. 27, 716 (2002). [CrossRef]

,7

7. M. A. Kagan and E. A. Khazanov, “Features of compensation of thermally induced depolarization in polycrystalline Nd:YAG ceramic,” Quantum Electron. 33, 876 (2003). [CrossRef]

] and gyrotropic elements (Faraday isolators and Faraday mirrors) [8

8. M. A. Kagan and E. A. Khazanov, “Thermally induced birefringence in Faraday devices made from terbium gallium garnet-polycrystalline ceramics,” Appl. Opt. 43, 6030 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

] were derived. In addition, the efficiency of depolarization compensation by all methods used for single crystals and glasses was investigated.

2. Experimental results

The schematic diagram of the experiment is shown in Fig. 1. The sample was a Nd:YAG (2.3 at. % Nd) ceramic element. The element was a cylinder of 8.5 mm in length and 8 mm in diameter, with average grain size of approximately 70 μm. Radiation from a CW Yb:fiber laser with power of P 0 = 50 W (wavelength of 1076 nm) was used both to heat the ceramic sample and to measure the depolarization. The beam on the sample was Gaussian-shaped with radius r 0 = 0.5 mm. For increasing of heating power, the beam was propagated twice through the sample using a mirror (8). An image of the output face of the sample was relayed by a lens (11) onto a CCD camera (12). Due to the polarizer (9) with contrast 900, the intensities of polarized and depolarized beams on the CCD camera were almost identical, allowing simultaneous measurement of their distributions.

Fig. 1. Schematic of the experiment: (1) laser, P 0=50W (wavelength 1076nm); (2) polarizer; (3) Faraday isolator; (4) λ/2 plate; (5) telescope; (6) spar wedge; (7) sample; (8) nontransmitting mirror; (9) polarizer; (10) glass wedge; (11) lens, focal length 516 mm; (12) CCD camera.

Theoretical predictions of a large value of depolarization degree dispersion D Γ [4

4. E. A. Khazanov, “Thermally induced birefringence in Nd:YAG ceramics,” Opt. Lett. 27, 716 (2002). [CrossRef]

] (comparable with <Γ> in some points of cross section) are also well confirmed by the experiment (see Fig. 2). At a relatively small power, the theoretical dependence D Γ on heat release power is quadratic and quantitatively coincides with the experimental one for any integration domain, see Fig. 4. All theoretical dependences shown in Figs. 2 and 4 were plotted by formulas presented in Refs. [4

4. E. A. Khazanov, “Thermally induced birefringence in Nd:YAG ceramics,” Opt. Lett. 27, 716 (2002). [CrossRef]

,7

7. M. A. Kagan and E. A. Khazanov, “Features of compensation of thermally induced depolarization in polycrystalline Nd:YAG ceramic,” Quantum Electron. 33, 876 (2003). [CrossRef]

,8

8. M. A. Kagan and E. A. Khazanov, “Thermally induced birefringence in Faraday devices made from terbium gallium garnet-polycrystalline ceramics,” Appl. Opt. 43, 6030 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. As the Figs. 2–4 show, the experimental data are in good quantitative and qualitative agreement with theoretical predictions.

3. Conclusion

Let us summarize the results. We have observed in experiment the effect of strong dispersion of thermally induced depolarization in ceramics, which we earlier predicted theoretically. This effect is specific to ceramics only and has no analogs either in glasses or in single crystals. The consequence of this effect is that both the polarized and depolarized radiations always have a small-scale intensity modulation with a characteristic transverse size of the order of a grain size. Depth of this modulation increases with increasing heat release power and decreasing ratio of sample length to grain length.

Fig. 2. Theoretical and experimental distributions I d, <I d>, √Dd, √D Γ.
Fig. 3. Transverse distribution of root-mean-square deviation √Dd/<I d> of depolarized beam (1) and √D 0/<I 0> of polarized beam (2). Dashed lines indicate intensity distributions I d (1) and I 0 (2).
Fig. 4. Theoretical (curves) and experimental (points) dependences of √D Γ integrated over cross section on laser power for various integration domains. The integration domains have radii r 0 (1), 1.22 r 0 (2), and 1.41 r 0 (3) and are shown in the inset.

References and links

1.

A. Ikesue, T. Kinoshita, K. Kamata, and K. Yoshida, “Fabrication and optical properties of high -performance polycrystalline Nd:YAG ceramics for solid-state lasers,” J. Am. Ceram. Soc. 78, 1033 (1995). [CrossRef]

2.

I. Shoji, Y. Sato, S. Kurimura, V. Lupei, T. Taira, A. Ikesue, and K. Yoshida, “Thermal - birefringence -induced depolarization in Nd: YAG ceramics,” Opt. Lett. 27, 234 (2002). [CrossRef]

3.

J. Lu, M. Prabhu, J. Song, C. Li, J. Xu, K. Ueda, A. A. Kaminskii, H. Yagi, and T. Yanagitani, “Optical properties and highly efficient laser oscillation of Nd:YAG ceramic,” Appl. Phys. B 71, 469 (2000). [CrossRef]

4.

E. A. Khazanov, “Thermally induced birefringence in Nd:YAG ceramics,” Opt. Lett. 27, 716 (2002). [CrossRef]

5.

J. R. Lu, J. H. Lu, T. Murai, K. Takaichi, T. Uematsu, K. Ueda, H. Yagi, T. Yanagitani, and A. A. Kaminskii, “Nd3+:Y2O3 ceramic laser,” Jpn. J. Appl. Phys. 40, L1277 (2001). [CrossRef]

6.

K. Takaichi, J. R. Lu, T. Murai, T. Uematsu, A Shirakawa, K. Ueda, H. Yagi, T. Yanagitani, and A. A. Kaminskii, “Chromium doped Y3A15O12 ceramics - a novel saturable absorber for passively self-Q-switched one-micron solid state lasers,” Jpn. J. Appl. Phys. 41, L96 (2002). [CrossRef]

7.

M. A. Kagan and E. A. Khazanov, “Features of compensation of thermally induced depolarization in polycrystalline Nd:YAG ceramic,” Quantum Electron. 33, 876 (2003). [CrossRef]

8.

M. A. Kagan and E. A. Khazanov, “Thermally induced birefringence in Faraday devices made from terbium gallium garnet-polycrystalline ceramics,” Appl. Opt. 43, 6030 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

9.

J. Lu, M. Prabhu, J. Xu, K. Ueda, H. Yagi, T. Yanagitani, and A. A. Kaminskii, “Highly efficient 2% Nd:yttrium aluminum garnet ceramic laser,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 77, 3707 (2000). [CrossRef]

10.

K. Ueda, “Ceramic lasers for IFE power plant,” in Proceedings of International Conference on Lasers, Applications, and Technologies, 2005.

11.

I. Shoji, S. Kurimura, Y. Sato, T. Taira, A. Ikesue, and K. Yoshida, “Thermal birefringence in Nd3+-doped YAG ceramics,” in Proceedings of Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, 2001, p. 560.

12.

J. Lu, T. Murai, K. Takaichi, T. Uematsu, K. Misawa, M. Prabhu, J. Xu, K. Ueda, H. Yagi, T. Yanagitani, A. A. Kaminskii, and A. Kudryashov, “72 W Nd: Y3Al5O12 ceramic laser,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 78, 3586 (2001). [CrossRef]

13.

E. Khazanov, N. Andreev, O. Palashov, A. Poteomkin, A. Sergeev, O. Mehl, and D. Reitze, “Effect of terbium gallium garnet crystal orientation on the isolation ratio of a Faraday isolator at high average power,” Appl. Opt. 41, 483 (2002). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

OCIS Codes
(140.6810) Lasers and laser optics : Thermal effects
(160.3380) Materials : Laser materials

ToC Category:
Research Papers

History
Original Manuscript: July 14, 2005
Revised Manuscript: July 22, 2005
Published: August 8, 2005

Citation
I. Mukhin, O. Palashov, E. Khazanov, A. Ikesue, and Yan Aung, "Experimental study of thermally induced depolarization in Nd:YAG ceramics," Opt. Express 13, 5983-5987 (2005)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-13-16-5983


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References

  1. A. Ikesue, T. Kinoshita, K. Kamata, and K. Yoshida, "Fabrication and optical properties of high-performance polycrystalline Nd:YAG ceramics for solid-state lasers," J. Am. Ceram. Soc. 78, 1033 (1995). [CrossRef]
  2. I. Shoji, Y. Sato, S. Kurimura, V. Lupei, T. Taira, A. Ikesue, and K. Yoshida, "Thermal-birefringence-induced depolarization in Nd: YAG ceramics," Opt. Lett. 27, 234 (2002). [CrossRef]
  3. J. Lu, M. Prabhu, J. Song, C. Li, J. Xu, K. Ueda, A. A. Kaminskii, H. Yagi, and T. Yanagitani, "Optical properties and highly efficient laser oscillation of Nd:YAG ceramic," Appl. Phys. B 71, 469 (2000). [CrossRef]
  4. E. A. Khazanov, "Thermally induced birefringence in Nd:YAG ceramics," Opt. Lett. 27, 716 (2002). [CrossRef]
  5. J. R. Lu, J. H. Lu, T. Murai, K. Takaichi, T. Uematsu, K. Ueda, H. Yagi, T. Yanagitani, and A. A. Kaminskii, "Nd3+:Y2O3 ceramic laser," Jpn. J. Appl. Phys. 40, L1277 (2001). [CrossRef]
  6. K. Takaichi, J. R. Lu, T. Murai, T. Uematsu, A. Shirakawa, K. Ueda, H. Yagi, T. Yanagitani, and A. A. Kaminskii, "Chromium doped Y3A15O12 ceramics - a novel saturable absorber for passively self-Q-switched one-micron solid state lasers," Jpn. J. Appl. Phys. 41, L96 (2002). [CrossRef]
  7. M. A. Kagan and E. A. Khazanov, "Features of compensation of thermally induced depolarization in polycrystalline Nd:YAG ceramic," Quantum Electron. 33, 876 (2003). [CrossRef]
  8. M. A. Kagan and E. A. Khazanov, "Thermally induced birefringence in Faraday devices made from terbium gallium garnet-polycrystalline ceramics," Appl. Opt. 43, 6030 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  9. J. Lu, M. Prabhu, J. Xu, K. Ueda, H. Yagi, T. Yanagitani, and A. A. Kaminskii, "Highly efficient 2% Nd:yttrium aluminum garnet ceramic laser," Appl. Phys. Lett. 77, 3707 (2000). [CrossRef]
  10. K. Ueda, "Ceramic lasers for IFE power plant," in Proceedings of International Conference on Lasers, Applications, and Technologies, 2005.
  11. I. Shoji, S. Kurimura, Y. Sato, T. Taira, A. Ikesue, and K. Yoshida, "Thermal birefringence in Nd3+-doped YAG ceramics," in Proceedings of Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, 2001, p. 560.
  12. J. Lu, T. Murai, K. Takaichi, T. Uematsu, K. Misawa, M. Prabhu, J. Xu, K. Ueda, H. Yagi, T. Yanagitani, A. A. Kaminskii, and A. Kudryashov, "72 W Nd: Y3Al5O12 ceramic laser," Appl. Phys. Lett. 78, 3586 (2001). [CrossRef]
  13. E. Khazanov, N. Andreev, O. Palashov, A. Poteomkin, A. Sergeev, O. Mehl, and D. Reitze, "Effect of terbium gallium garnet crystal orientation on the isolation ratio of a Faraday isolator at high average power," Appl. Opt. 41, 483 (2002). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

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