ceramic crystal lasers, Nd:YAG, Yb:YAG, Yb:Lu2O3, Yb:Y2O3, emission spectra, fluorescence lifetime, absorption, depolarization loss, thermal lensing, thermal expansion, dn/dT


Historically ceramic crystal laser material has had disadvantages compared to single crystal laser material. However, progress has been made in the last decade and a half to overcome the disadvantages associated with ceramic crystal. Today, because of the promise of ceramic crystal as a high power laser material, investigation into its properties, both physical and optical, is warranted and important. Thermal expansion was measured in this thesis for Nd:YAG (yttrium aluminum garnet) ceramic crystal using an interferometric method. The interferometer employed a spatially filtered HeNe at 633 nm wavelength. Thermal expansion coefficients measured for the ceramic crystal samples were near the reported values for single crystal Nd:YAG. With a similar experimental setup as that for the thermal expansion measurements, dn/dT for ceramic crystal Nd:YAG was measured and found to be slightly higher than the reported value for single crystal. Depolarization loss due to thermal gradient induced stresses can limit laser performance. As a result this phenomenon was modeled for ceramic crystal materials and compared to single crystals for slab and rod shaped gain media. This was accomplished using COMSOL Multiphysics, and MATLAB. Results indicate a dependence of the depolarization loss on the grain size where the loss decreases with decreased grain size even to the point where lower loss may be expected in ceramic crystals than in single crystal samples when the grain sizes in the ceramic crystal are sufficiently small. Deformation-induced thermal lensing was modeled for a single crystal slab and its relevance to ceramic crystal is discussed. Data indicates the most notable cause of deformation-induced thermal lensing is a consequence of the deformation of the top and bottom surfaces. Also, the strength of the lensing along the thickness is greater than the width and greater than that due to other causes of lensing along the thickness of the slab. Emission spectra, absorption spectra, and fluorescence lifetime were measured for Nd:YAG ceramic crystal and Yb:Lu2O3 ceramic crystal. No apparent inhomogeneous broadening appears to exist in the Nd:YAG ceramic at low concentrations. Concentration and temperature dependence effects on emission spectra were measured and are presented. Laser action in a thin disk of Yb:Y2O3 ceramic crystal was achieved. Pumping was accomplished with a fiber coupled diode laser stack at 938 nm. A slope efficiency of 34% was achieved with maximum output energy of 28.8 mJ/pulse.


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Graduation Date





Bass, Michael


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program









Release Date

September 2007

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Included in

Physics Commons