A simple technique for reducing the loss that is due to depolarization resulting from thermally induced stress birefringence in solid-state lasers is reported. The technique uses a single intracavity quarter-wave plate with its fast or slow axis aligned parallel to the preferred plane of polarization, defined by an intracavity polarizer. This technique has been applied to a diode-bar-pumped Nd:YAG laser operating at 946 nm, resulting in a measured reduction in depolarization loss from ~1.7% to ~0.0006% and yielding a diffraction-limited, TEM<sub>00</sub> , linearly polarized output power of 2.9 W for an incident pump power of 14.3 W.
© 1999 Optical Society of America
(140.3480) Lasers and laser optics : Lasers, diode-pumped
(140.3580) Lasers and laser optics : Lasers, solid-state
(140.6810) Lasers and laser optics : Thermal effects
(260.1440) Physical optics : Birefringence
(260.5430) Physical optics : Polarization
W. A. Clarkson, N. S. Felgate, and D. C. Hanna, "Simple method for reducing the depolarization loss resulting from thermally induced birefringence in solid-state lasers," Opt. Lett. 24, 820-822 (1999)