6 Generating Massive Inversions through Q-Switching

Short pulses of high peak power are extremely useful for a number of applications: While a long pulse may induce heat that penetrates deeply into a material, short pulses tend to ablate or vaporize the surface of a material in a manner that does not damage the substrate underneath. For this reason, short pulses find many applications in material processing and in the medical field.

While some pulsed lasers have naturally short pulses, most lasers do not. Q-switching is a technique for developing short pulses in those lasers. The technique is far more involved than simply switching the pump source on and off repeatedly, though—it involves storing energy in the gain medium and releasing it in ...

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