We report on laser performances obtained in Q-switch mode operation from buried depressed-cladding waveguides of circular shape (100 μm diameter) that were inscribed in Nd:YAG and Nd:YVO4
media by direct writing with a femtosecond laser beam. The Q-switch operation was realized with a Cr4+
:YAG saturable absorber, aiming to obtain laser pulses of moderate (few μJ) energy at high (tens to hundreds kHz) repetition rate. An average power of 0.52 W at 1.06 μm consisting of a train of pulses of 7.79 μJ energy at 67 kHz repetition rate, was obtained from a waveguide realized in a 4.8 mm long, 1.1-at % Nd:YAG ceramics; the pulse peak power reached 1.95 kW. A similar waveguide that was inscribed in a 3.4 mm long, 1.0-at % Nd:YVO4
crystal yielded laser pulses with 9.4 μJ energy at 83 kHz repetition rate (at 0.77 W average power) and 1.36 kW peak power. The laser performances obtained in continuous-wave operation were discussed for each waveguide used in the experiments. Thus, a continuous-wave output power of 1.45 W was obtained from the circular buried depressed-cladding waveguide inscribed in the 1.1-at %, 4.8 mm long Nd:YAG; the overall optical-to-optical efficiency, with respect to the absorbed pump power, was 0.21. The waveguide inscribed in the 1.0-at %, 3.4 mm long Nd:YVO4
crystal yielded 1.85 W power at 0.26 overall optical efficiency. This work shows the possibility to build compact laser systems with average-to-high peak power pulses based on waveguides realized by a femtosecond (fs) laser beam direct writing technique and that are pumped by a fiber-coupled diode laser.
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