A low-cost, high performance cladding-pumped planar waveguide amplifier and fabrication method, for deployment in metro and access networks. The waveguide amplifier has a compact monolithic slab architecture preferably formed by first sandwich bonding an erbium-doped core glass slab between two cladding glass slabs to form a multi-layer planar construction, and then slicing the construction into multiple unit constructions. Using lithographic techniques, a silver stripe is deposited and formed at a top or bottom surface of each unit construction and over a cross section of the bonds. By heating the unit construction in an oven and applying an electric field, the silver stripe is then ion diffused to increase the refractive indices of the core and cladding regions, with the diffusion region of the core forming a single mode waveguide, and the silver diffusion cladding region forming a second larger waveguide amenable to cladding pumping with broad area diodes.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-46 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.