Compact solid-state lasers in the near-infrard and visible spectral range

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: The subject of this thesis is the exploration of new concepts for compact solid-state lasers in the visible and near-infrared spectral range using new components such as volume Bragg gratings for wavelength stabilisation and wavelength tuning. Also single-walled carbon nanotubes for mode-locking and Q-switching of lasers have been studied.We have developed a new method for the tuning of solid-state lasers by replacing a dielectric mirror with a transversally chirped volume Bragg grating, which allows smooth wavelength tuning without additional elements inside the laser cavity. The result is a more compact laser, since the tuning mechanism and output coupler are incorporated in one component. Another benefit is an increased efficiency, since additional elements inside the cavity will always add to the total loss of the laser. This has been demonstrated for a broadband ytterbium laser around 1 µm and a single-longitudinal-mode Nd:YVO4 laser around 1.06 µm. A volume Bragg grating has also been used to construct an efficient, narrow-linewidth ytterbium fiber laser and the employment of a volume Bragg gratingas the pump mirror of a solid-state laser for frequency-doubling has been investigated. Both lasers represent a practical solution, eliminating the use of additional intracavity elements.Second-harmonic generation is an efficient way to access the visible spectral range using diode-pumped solid-state lasers. However, these lasers can suffer from large amplitude fluctuations, which has been analyzed in more detail for an optically-pumped semiconductor disk-laser and a volume Bragg grating locked ytterbiumlaser. The control of those amplitude fluctuations is very important, since many applications like fluorescence microscopy require a laser with a constant output power and as little noise as possible.In addition to this, we have demonstrated, that saturable absorbers based on quan-tum dots and carbon nanotubes can be used to mode-lock compact laser at a wavelength around 1.03 µm. Those lasers have many interesting applications incommunications, clock generation, metrology and life sciences.

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