A new, compact, side-pumped laser pump cavity design which uses non-conventional optics for injection of laser-diode light into a laser pump chamber includes a plurality of elongated light concentration channels. In one embodiment, the light concentration channels are compound parabolic concentrators (CPC) which have very small exit apertures so that light will not escape from the pumping chamber and will be multiply reflected through the laser rod. This new design effectively traps the pump radiation inside the pump chamber that encloses the laser rod. It enables more uniform laser pumping and highly effective recycle of pump radiation, leading to significantly improved laser performance. This new design also effectively widens the acceptable radiation wavelength of the diodes, resulting in a more reliable laser performance with lower cost.