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Monolithic Solid-state Lasers

Definition: solid-state lasers where the whole laser resonator consists only of one piece of crystal or glass

German: monolitische Festkörperlaser

Category: lasers

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Although most solid-state lasers consist of a number of discrete elements (e.g. of a laser crystal or glass, some laser mirrors, and possibly additional intracavity optical elements), there are some types of lasers which are monolithic. For monolithic lasers according to a strict definition, the whole laser resonator consists only of some piece of crystal or glass. The resonator is then closed either with dielectric mirror coatings on the surfaces, or with total internal reflection. A somewhat relaxed definition allows for reflections from additional optical elements, and even for additional components within the laser resonator, provided that these elements are rigidly attached (e.g. bonded) to the gain medium.

There are monolithic lasers of different kinds; some typical examples are listed in the following:

A common property of monolithic lasers is that they have a very stable and compact setup. Furthermore, monolithic designs often allow for fairly low intracavity losses (possibly well below 1%), leading to a low threshold pump power and relatively small linewidth (even though carefully designed lasers with longer resonators can have a still narrower linewidth). Another consequence of the typically short resonator is a high relaxation oscillation frequency. A frequent practical limitation is that a monolithic laser setup does not allow the insertion of additional intracavity optical components. Also, it is usually not possible to modify various design parameters without fabricating a whole new laser device.

See also: solid-state lasers, microchip lasers, waveguide lasers
and other articles in the category lasers


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