A discrete-element Er:YAG laser, side pumped by a 220 Watt peak-power InGaAs diode array, generates >500 mWatts at 2.94 .mu.m, and is tunable over a 6 nm range near about 2.936 .mu.m. The oscillator is a plano-concave resonator consisting of a concave high reflector, a flat output coupler, a Er:YAG crystal and a YAG intracavity etalon, which serves as the tuning element. The cavity length is variable from 3 cm to 4 cm. The oscillator uses total internal reflection in the Er:YAG crystal to allow efficient coupling of the diode emission into the resonating modes of the oscillator. With the tuning element removed, the oscillator produces up to 1.3 Watts of average power at 2.94 .mu.m. The duty factor of the laser is 6.5% and the repetition rate is variable up to 1 kHz. This laser is useful for tuning to an atmospheric transmission window at 2.935 .mu.m (air wavelength). The laser is also useful as a spectroscopic tool because it can access several infrared water vapor transitions, as well as transitions in organic compounds. Other uses include medical applications (e.g., for tissue ablation and uses with fiber optic laser scalpels) and as part of industrial effluent monitoring systems.
The U.S. Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the U.S. Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.