Lasers: Ceramic Materials

Authored by: Jasbinder S. Sanghera , Thomas F. Soules

Encyclopedia of Optical and Photonic Engineering

Print publication date:  September  2015
Online publication date:  September  2015

Print ISBN: 9781439850978
eBook ISBN: 9781351247184
Adobe ISBN:


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Since the first demonstration of lasing with ceramic media in 1964, the quality of ceramics has improved to the point that transparent ceramics favorably compete with single crystals and glasses as laser hosts. These materials give the laser designer a new medium. A broad palette of ceramic materials is available. Ceramic technology also offers advantages in scale, ease of fabrication, flexibility of design, and other physical properties. These and other advantages of these materials over traditional solid-state materials are discussed in this entry. Transparent ceramics are especially well suited for very high power lasers where strength, thermal conductivity, and the absence of index inhomogeneity or residual stress birefringence is important. The first neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet ceramic lasers broke the 1 kW mark in 2002 and more than 100 kW output power was demonstrated in 2009. Additional developments have included highly doped microchip ceramic lasers, ultrashort pulse lasers, novel materials such as sesquioxides, fluoride ceramic lasers, selenide ceramic lasers in the 2–3 μm region, composite ceramic lasers for better thermal management, single-crystal lasers derived from polycrystalline ceramics, and more recently, ceramics fabricated with magnetic field assistance. This entry highlights some of these notable achievements.

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