Beta-Barium Borate (β-BBO) crystal is commonly used in nonlinear frequency conversion from visible to deep ultraviolet (DUV). However, in a single crystal BBO, its large spatial walk-off effect will reduce spatial overlap of ordinary and extraordinary beam, and thus degrade the conversion efficiency. To overcome the restrictions in current DUV conversion systems, Onyx applies adhesive-free bonding technique to replace the single crystal BBO with a spatial Walk-off Compensated (WOC) BBO stack, which is capable of correcting the spatial walk-off while retaining a constant nonlinear coefficient in the adjacent bonding layers. As a result, the β-BBO stack will provide good beam quality, high conversion efficiency, and broader acceptance angle and spectral linewidth, when compared with a single crystal of BBO.
In this work, we report on performance of a spatial walk-off compensated β-BBO stack with adhesive-free bonding technique, for efficiently converting from the visible to DUV range. The physics behind the WOC BBO stack are demonstrated, followed by simulation of DUV conversion efficiency in an external resonance cavity. We also demonstrate experimentally the beam quality improvement in a 4-layer WOC BBO stack over a single BBO crystal.
We report on laser performance of ceramic Yb:YAG and single crystal Tm:YAG double-clad crystalline fiber waveguide (CFW) lasers towards the goal of demonstrating the design and manufacturing strategy of scaling to high output power. The laser component is a double-clad CFW, with RE3+:YAG (RE = Yb, Tm respectively) core, un-doped YAG inner cladding, and ceramic spinel or sapphire outer cladding. Laser performance of the CFW has been demonstrated with 53.6% slope efficiency and 27.5-W stable output power at 1030-nm for Yb:YAG CFW, and 31.6% slope efficiency and 46.7-W stable output power at 2019-nm for Tm:YAG CFW, respectively. Adhesive-Free Bond (AFB®) technology enables a designable refractive index difference between core and inner cladding, and designable core and inner cladding sizes, which are essential for single transverse mode CFW propagation.
To guide further development of CFW designs, we present thermal modeling, power scaling and design of single transverse mode operation of double-clad CFWs and redefine the single-mode operation criterion for the double-clad structure design. The power scaling modeling of double-clad CFW shows that in order to achieve the maximum possible output power limited by the physical properties, including diode brightness, thermal lens effect, and simulated Brillion scattering, the length of waveguide is in the range of 0.5~2 meters. The length of an individual CFW is limited by single crystal growth and doping uniformity to about 100 to 200 mm lengths, and also by availability of starting crystals and manufacturing complexity. To overcome the limitation of CFW lengths, end-to-end proximity-coupling of CFWs is introduced.
An interferometric method has been developed and employed at Onyx Optics, Inc. to accurately measure the thermal conductivity of laser-active crystals as function of dopant concentration or inactive materials such as single crystals, optical ceramics and glasses relative to a standard of assumed to be known thermal conductivity . This technique can also provide information on heat transfer resistance at the interface between two materials in close thermal contact.
While the technique appears generally applicable to composites between optically homogeneous materials, we report on thermal conductivities and heat transfer coefficients of selected adhesive-free bond (AFB®) laser composites. Single crystal bars and AFB bonded crystal doublets with the combinations of various rare-earth (Nd3+, Yb3+, Er3+, and Tm3+ trivalent ion doped YAG, and un-doped YAG have been fabricated with the AFB technique. By loading the test sample in a vacuum cryostat, with a precisely controlled heat load at one end of the doublets, the temperature distribution inside the single crystal or the composite samples can been precisely mapped by measuring the optical path difference interferometrically, given the material’s thermal-optical properties. No measurable heat transfer resistance can be identified for the AFB interfaces between low-concentration doped YAG and un-doped YAG. For the heavily doped RE3+:YAG, for example, 10% Yb:YAG, the thermal conductivity measured in our experiment is 8.3 W/m•K, using the thermal conductivity of undoped YAG reported in  as basis. The thermal transfer resistance of the AFB interface with un-doped YAG, if there is any at the AFB interface, could be less than 1.29×10-6 m2•K/W.
We report on the design and manufacturing parameters of waveguiding structures of anisotropic nonlinear crystals that are employed for harmonic conversions, using Adhesive-Free Bonding (AFB®). This technology enables a full range of predetermined refractive index differences that are essential for the design of single mode or low-mode propagation with high efficiency in anisotropic nonlinear crystals which in turn results in compact frequency conversion systems. Examples of nonlinear optical waveguides include periodically bonded walk-off corrected nonlinear optical waveguides and periodically poled waveguide components, such as lithium triborate (LBO), beta barium borate (β-BBO), lithium niobate (LN), potassium titanyl phosphate (KTP), zinc germanium phosphide (ZGP) and silver selenogallate (AGSE). Simulation of planar LN waveguide shows that when the electric field vector E lies in the k-c plane, the power flow is directed precisely along the propagation direction, demonstrating waveguiding effect in the planar waveguide.
Employment of anisotropic nonlinear optical waveguides, for example in combination with AFB® crystalline fiber waveguides (CFW), provides access to the design of a number of novel high power and high efficiency light sources spanning the range of wavelengths from deep ultraviolet (as short as ~200 nm) to mid-infrared (as long as about 18 μm). To our knowledge, the technique is the only generally applicable one because most often there are no compatible cladding crystals available to nonlinear optical cores, especially not with an engineer-able refractive index difference and large mode area.
Power scaling analysis based on the model by Dawson et al. [1,2] for circular core fibers has been applied to estimating power scaling of crystalline fiber waveguides (CFWs) with RE3+ doped single crystalline or ceramic YAG (RE=rare earth: Yb, Er, Tm and Ho). Power scaling limits include stimulated Brillouin scattering, thermal lensing effect, and limits to coupling of pump light into CFWs. The CFW designs we have considered consist, in general, of a square doped RE3+:YAG core, an inner cladding of either undoped or laser-inactive-ion-doped YAG and an outer cladding of sapphire. The presented data have been developed for the structures fabricated using the Adhesive-Free Bonding (AFB®) technique, but the results should be essentially independent of fabrication technique, assuming perfect core/inner cladding/outer cladding interfaces. Hard power scaling limits exist for a specific CFW design and are strongly based on the physical constants of the material and its spectroscopic specifics. For example, power scaling limit was determined as ~16 kW for 2.5% ceramic Yb:YAG/YAG (core material/inner cladding material) at fiber length of 1.7 m and core diameter of 69 μm. Considering the present manufacturing limit for CFW length to be, e.g., 0.5 m, the actual maximum output power will be limited to ~4.4 kW for a Yb:YAG/YAG CFW. Power limit estimates have also been computed for Er3+, Tm3+ and Ho3+doped core based CFWs.
Recently, double-clad crystalline fiber waveguides (CFWs), consisting of single crystalline or ceramic RE3+:YAG cores of square cross section and inner claddings of either undoped or laser-inactive-ion-doped YAG and outer claddings of sapphire, have been successfully demonstrated. These waveguides, manufactured by an Adhesive-Free Bonding (AFB®) technique, can be precisely engineered and fabricated with predictable beam propagation behavior. In this work, with high power laser designs in mind, minimum thicknesses for inner cladding are derived for different core cross sections and refractive index differences between the core and inner cladding and sapphire as outer cladding material for common laser core dopants such as Nd3+, Yb3+, Er3+, Tm3+ and Ho3+. All designs are intended to use high NA high power laser diode pumping to obtain high power intrinsically single transverse mode laser output. The obtained data are applicable to any crystalline fiber waveguide design, regardless of fabrication technique. As an example, a CFW with 40 μm × 40 μm 4% Tm:YAG core, 5% Yb:YAG inner cladding, and sapphire outer cladding was calculated to be intrinsically single transverse mode, with the minimum inner cladding width of 21.7 μm determined by the effective index technique .