Engineers at the University of California San Diego have introduced a brand new laser material by doping alumina crystals with neodymium ions. This material is capable of providing high power ultra-short pulses that could efficiently give lasers that are more powerful with high-quality thermal shock resistance, duty cycles, and wide tenability. Engineers developed new processing strategies of the materials to dissolve large neodymium ions into alumina crystals concentrations to accomplish this advance. 

Neodymium- alumina laser is the first laser materials because of this development by the engineers. It has more than 24 times higher thermal shock resistance than the leading solid-state laser gain materials. In this current month, the research was published in the Journal Light, science and applications. The group will present their research paper in August 19-23rd 2018at San Diego SPIE conference. 

Alumina and Neodymium are the two extensive components in today’s solid-state laser materials. Neodymium ions are a kind of host material for light-emitting ions that can give ultra-short pulses with lasers. Alumina crystals have the high shock resistance. They have the capability of withstanding rapid temperature changes and high heat loads. 

Neodymium and alumina together can make a lasing medium, that is challenging. The main problem is that they are incompatible in size. Alumina crystals significantly host small ions such as chromium and titanium. Neodymium ions are more abundant and generally organized inside yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG) that is a crystal. 

Javier Garay, a mechanical engineering professor at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, said that until now it has been impossible to dope right amounts of neodymium into alumina matrix. They figured out a strategy to develop a neodymium-alumina laser material that combines ultrashort pulses, high power density, and high-quality shock resistance. 

Researchers in a test showed that neodymium-alumina is 24 times higher in thermal shock resistance. This is one of the solid gain laser materials. Garay said that they could pump this material with more energy before it cracks. They can use it because it can make power that is more powerful. The group is working and researching on building a laser with the latest material. Their experiment shows that this will work as the fundamental physics and laser. It requires more engineers, and the researchers characterized the neodymium –alumina crystals by using electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction. They pumped the glasses with infrared light.