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High performance widely tunable Ti:Sapphire laser with nanosecond pulses

: Jungbluth, B.; Wueppen, J.; Geiger, J.; Bach-Zelewski, B.; Pirch, N.; Hoffmann, D.; Loosen, P.; Poprawe, R.


Hoffman, H.J. ; Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers -SPIE-, Bellingham/Wash.:
Solid State Lasers XV. Technology and Devices : 23. Jan. 2006, San Jose, Calif.
Bellingham/Wash.: SPIE, 2006 (SPIE Proceedings Series 6100)
ISBN: 9780819461421
ISBN: 0-8194-6142-3
Paper 61000R
Conference "Solid State Lasers - Technology and Devices" <15, 2006, San Jose/Calif.>
Fraunhofer ILT ()

Design, theoretical modeling, and experimental characterization of a widely tunable Ti:Sapphire laser with nanosecond pulses and high pulse peak power is presented. The laser provides a continuous tuning range of from 675 nm to 1025 nm with no exchange of optics required. At a pulse rate of one kilohertz it delivers pulse energies of up to 2.5 mJ, pulse durations of around 20ns, a spectral bandwidth of 10 GHz and an almost diffraction-limited beam quality of M2 < 1.2 with a smooth characteristic of these parameters over the full wavelength range. This clearly exceeds the performance data published so far with our previous designs. Effects, which lent to provoke spectral gaps in the past, are totally understood and definitely suppressed by a modified resonator design. The presentation contains a detailed description and discussion of performance determining design aspects, i.e. pump scheme and pump beam shaping, resonator design and the comparison of different tuning elements. As a main prerequisite of an appropriate resonator design thermal lensing in Ti:Sapphire crystals is discussed on the basis of experimental and theoretical results. This includes the wavelength dependency of the focal length, the astigmatism in end-pumped Ti:Sapphire crystals with Brewster-cul end faces, the influence of the pump-light distribution and different cooling schemes.