A method of operating a laser to obtain an output pulse having a single wavelength, comprises inducing an intracavity loss into a laser resonator having an amount that prevents oscillation during a time that energy from the pump source is being stored in the gain medium. Gain is built up in the gain medium with energy from the pump source until formation of a single-frequency relaxation oscillation pulse in the resonator. Upon detection of the onset of the relaxation oscillation pulse, the intracavity loss is reduced, such as by Q-switching, so that the built-up gain stored in the gain medium is output from the resonator in the form of an output pulse at a single frequency. An electronically controllable output coupler is controlled to affect output pulse characteristics. The laser acts a master oscillator in a master oscillator power amplifier configuration. The laser is used for laser peening.
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.