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  • January 2012

Optics InfoBase > Spotlight on Optics > Efficient laser emissions at 1.06 μm of swift heavy ion irradiated Nd:YCOB waveguides

Efficient laser emissions at 1.06 μm of swift heavy ion irradiated Nd:YCOB waveguides

Published in Optics Letters, Vol. 36 Issue 23, pp.4521-4523 (2011)
by Yingying Ren, Ningning Dong, Yuechen Jia, Lilong Pang, Zhiguang Wang, Qingming Lu, and Feng Chen

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Spotlight summary: A planar waveguide dielectric laser (PWL) consists of a thin layer of laser active medium with a higher refractive index than that of substrate in which it is embedded. The reduction of the cavity volume through optical confinement in the active material results in important advantages for these lasers, including high optical gain and low threshold power, while avoiding the fabrication of a large volume of optical quality laser material.

Planar waveguide fabrication can be put into practice through techniques falling into two broad categories: modification of the refractive index of a bulk material (such as proton- or ion-exchange, ion-diffusion, ion-implantation, or laser writing) or layering/structuring materials with different refractive indices to fabricate composite structures (epitaxial processes, pulsed laser deposition). Finding the appropriate technique for waveguide fabrication is crucial in order to minimize propagation passive optical losses in small volumes of waveguide and to reach efficient lasing in the PWL.

This Optics Letters article by Ren et al. reports Nd:YCOB optical waveguide fabrication through the use of ultralow fluence Ar-ion implantation. The combination of appropriate materials and an optimal technique allowed a considerable decrease in the cavity propagation losses as well as the achievement of PWL lasing with a slope efficiency as high as ~68% for the fundamental wavelength, which is quite close to the Stokes efficiency limit of 76% for neodymium lasers pumped at 808 nm.

Due to the high optical non-linearity of YCOB crystals, this material can also be used for frequency self-doubling, where the processes of fundamental wavelength lasing and its conversion to second harmonic occur within the same medium. This benefit, i.e. a monolithic design using one crystal, might be crucial for the optical stability of the resulting integrated optical microdevices. Therefore, to take full advantage of this achievement, the authors should continue this research to obtain self-frequency doubling in the fabricated PWL.

--Andrey N. Kuzmin

Technical Division: Optoelectronics
ToC Category: Optical Devices
OCIS Codes: (130.3120) Integrated optics : Integrated optics devices
(140.3390) Lasers and laser optics : Laser materials processing
(230.7390) Optical devices : Waveguides, planar

Posted on January 12, 2012

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