Using a thin disk laser gain element with an undoped cap layer enables the scaling of lasers to extremely high average output power values. Ordinarily, the power scaling of such thin disk lasers is limited by the deleterious effects of amplified spontaneous emission. By using an undoped cap layer diffusion bonded to the thin disk, the onset of amplified spontaneous emission does not occur as readily as if no cap layer is used, and much larger transverse thin disks can be effectively used as laser gain elements. This invention can be used as a high average power laser for material processing applications as well as for weapon and air defense applications.
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.