In a master oscillator-power amplifier (MOPA) hybrid laser system, the master oscillator (MO) utilizes a Nd.sup.3+ -doped gain medium and the power amplifier (PA) utilizes a diode-pumped Yb.sup.3+ -doped material. The use of two different laser gain media in the hybrid MOPA system provides advantages that are otherwise not available. The Nd-doped gain medium preferably serves as the MO because such gain media offer the lowest threshold of operation and have already been engineered as practical systems. The Yb-doped gain medium preferably serves in the diode-pumped PA to store pump energy effectively and efficiently by virtue of the long emission lifetime, thereby reducing diode pump costs. One crucial constraint on the MO and PA gain media is that the Nd and Yb lasers must operate at nearly the same wavelength. The 1.047 .mu.m Nd:YLF/Yb:S-FAP [Nd:LiYF.sub.4 /Yb:Sr.sub.5 (PO.sub.4).sub.3 F] hybrid MOPA system is a preferred embodiment of the hybrid Nd/Yb MOPA.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.