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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

More general term: solid-state lasers

More specific terms: nonplanar ring oscillators, microchip lasers

German: monolitische Festkörperlaser

Category: laser devices and laser physicslaser devices and laser physics


Cite the article using its DOI: https://doi.org/10.61835/dfx

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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.

Normally, one ignores the need of a separate laser diode for pumping, although this makes the complete laser setup clearly non-monolithic.

Types of Monolithic Lasers

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

Typical Properties

A common property of monolithic lasers is that they have a very stable and compact setup. That can be helpful for obtaining stable single-frequency operation, for example, and a low sensitivity to vibrations.

Monolithic laser 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. Quantum-limited laser noise performance may thus be achieved only at relatively high noise frequencies.

A practical limitation is that a monolithic laser setup normally does not allow the insertion of additional intracavity optical components (although special designs allow for that [14]). Also, it is usually not possible to modify various design parameters without fabricating a whole new laser device.

More to Learn

Encyclopedia articles:


[1]T. J. Kane and R. L. Byer, “Monolithic, unidirectional single-mode ring laser”, Opt. Lett. 10 (2), 65 (1985); https://doi.org/10.1364/OL.10.000065
[2]K. Wallmeroth, “Monolithic integrated Nd:YAG laser”, Opt. Lett. 15 (16), 903 (1990); https://doi.org/10.1364/OL.15.000903
[3]N. M. Sampas et al., “Long-term stability of two diode-laser-pumped nonplanar ring lasers independently stabilized to two Fabry–Pérot interferometers”, Opt. Lett. 18 (12), 947 (1993); https://doi.org/10.1364/OL.18.000947
[4]S. Zhou et al., “Monolithic self-Q-switched Cr,Nd:YAG laser”, Opt. Lett. 18 (7), 511 (1993); https://doi.org/10.1364/OL.18.000511
[5]I. Freitag et al., “Power scaling of diode-pumped monolithic Nd:YAG lasers to output powers of several watts”, Opt. Commun. 115, 511 (1995); https://doi.org/10.1016/0030-4018(95)00020-9
[6]H. Liu, S. Zhou and Y. C. Chen, “High-power monolithic unstable-resonator solid-state laser”, Opt. Lett. 23 (6), 451 (1998); https://doi.org/10.1364/OL.23.000451
[7]H. Rong et al., “Monolithic integrated Raman silicon laser”, Opt. Express 14 (15), 6705 (2006); https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.14.006705
[8]I. Häggström, B. Jacobsson and F. Laurell, “Monolithic Bragg-locked Nd:GdVO4 laser”, Opt. Express 15 (18), 11589 (2007); https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.15.011589
[9]L. Chrostowski and W. Shi, “Monolithic injection-locked high-speed semiconductor ring lasers”, J. Lightwave Technol. 26 (19), 3355 (2008)
[10]T. D. Shoji et al., “Ultra-low-noise monolithic mode-locked solid-state laser”, Optica 3 (9), 995 (2016); https://doi.org/10.1364/OPTICA.3.000995
[11]J. D. B. Bradley et al., “Monolithic erbium- and ytterbium-doped microring lasers on silicon chips”, Opt. Express 22 (10), 12226 (2014); https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.22.012226
[12]S. Reilly et al., “Monolithic diamond Raman laser”, Opt. Lett. 40 (6), 930 (2015); https://doi.org/10.1364/OL.40.000930
[13]W. Li et al., “151 W monolithic diffraction-limited Yb-doped photonic bandgap fiber laser at ∼978nm”, Opt. Express 27 (18), 24972 (2019); https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.27.024972
[14]H.-Yu Liu et al., “High power single-frequency 1112 nm laser by an insertable Nd:YAG/YAG bonded monolithic planar ring oscillator”, Opt. Express 31 (23), 37597 (2023); https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.500304
[15]M. Lee, P. H. Moriya and J. E. Hastie, “Monolithic VECSEL for stable kHz linewidth”, Opt. Express 31 (23), 38786 (2023); https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.490046

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