Photonics Dictionary

Nd:YAG laser

Nd:YAG laser refers to a solid-state laser that utilizes neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd:Y3Al5O12) as the gain medium. This type of laser emits light at a wavelength of 1064 nm in the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

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Here is a breakdown of the components and operation of an Nd:YAG laser:

Gain medium: The active medium of the laser is a crystal made of yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG) doped with neodymium ions (Nd3+). When pumped with energy, typically from a flashlamp or another laser, the neodymium ions become excited.

Pumping source: Nd:YAG lasers are commonly pumped using flash lamps or diode lasers. These pumping sources provide the energy needed to excite the neodymium ions in the gain medium to a higher energy state.

Optical cavity: The gain medium is placed within an optical cavity formed by two mirrors, one of which is partially reflective. This arrangement allows for the amplification of light through multiple passes within the gain medium.

Lasing action: When the neodymium ions in the gain medium are sufficiently excited, they release energy in the form of photons at a specific wavelength of 1064 nm. This process stimulates the emission of coherent light, initiating the lasing action.

Nd:YAG lasers have several properties that make them widely used in various applications:

High power: Nd:YAG lasers can produce high output powers, making them suitable for applications requiring intense laser beams.

High beam quality: They can produce a laser beam with excellent spatial and temporal coherence, allowing for precise focusing and control.

Versatility: Nd:YAG lasers can be frequency-doubled or frequency-tripled to generate shorter wavelengths in the visible and ultraviolet regions of the spectrum, expanding their utility in applications such as materials processing, medical procedures, laser rangefinders, laser welding, laser cutting, and scientific research.
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