Laser with Multiple Gain Elements
Patent, Filed 26 Feb 96, patented 7 Apr 98
DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY WASHINGTON DC
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A tunable laser produces laser emission at least two wavelengths simultaneously. The tunable laser includes at least two gain elements, where each gain element generates a different wavelength. Means for optically exciting each laser gain element is appropriately disposed for either end pumping or side pumping to produce a laser emission within a preselected range of wavelengths. A wavelength dispersing element such as a prism is disposed in the laser resonator cavity for dispersing the wavelengths operating simultaneously within the laser resonator cavity and to create separate regions for each laser gain element. Laser gain elements may be tunable laser gain elements or discrete emitting laser gain elements. Arbitrarily large wavelength separations between the wavelengths operating simultaneously may be achieved in this manner producing stable cw or pulsed output. Q-switched or line narrowed depending on the means disposed within the laser resonator cavity. In addition, intracavity sum frequency generation can be produced efficiently at a laser resonator waist in which a non-linear sum frequency generating crystal is disposed by having separate gain elements for each wavelength. Problems associated with gain competition are reduced or eliminated. The multiple gain elements may be of different materials or the same material.
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