In the past several years, major breakthroughs in lasing efficiencies using semiconductor laser diodes to end pump solid state laser materials have been reported.1 Side pumping has been demonstrated using solid state laser materials but with less efficiency than end pumping. The highest published optical slope efficiencies utilizing side pump geometries are 29% for glass slabs and 32% for YAG rods.2-4 We report optical slope efficiencies of 50.3 % with a LYAG rod and 40.3 % for a YAG zigzag slab utilizing diode array side pumping. The improved performance of these materials is attributed to both higher absorption efficiencies and lower resonator losses.

© 1989 Optical Society of America

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