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Anisotropy of the photo-elastic effect in Nd:KGd(WO4)2 laser crystals

Loiko, P. A. and Savitski, Vasili and Kemp, Alan and Pavlyuk, A. A. and Kuleshov, N.V. and Yumashev, K. V. (2014) Anisotropy of the photo-elastic effect in Nd:KGd(WO4)2 laser crystals. Laser Physics Letters, 11 (5). ISSN 1612-2011

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The anisotropy of thermal lensing and the photo-elastic effect is characterized for diode-pumped Nd : KGd(WO4)2 crystals cut along the Np and Ng optical indicatrix axes and along its optical axis, O = Ng + 43°, at a laser wavelength of 1067 nm. Distortions in the spatial profile of the output laser beam are analyzed. The thermal lens is astigmatic; the orientation of its principal meridional planes, A and B, is determined by the anisotropy of photo-elastic effect. The thermal lens has opposite signs for rays lying in the principal meridional planes for Np- and O-cut crystals; it is positive for an Ng-cut crystal. The increase of thermal lens optical power after absorption of 1 W of pump power, i.e. the thermal lens sensitivity factors MA(B), and astigmatism degree S = |MA–MB| are determined. The photo-elastic effect was found to increase the optical power of the thermal lens and was significant for all studied crystal orientations.