The laser is an out-of-equilibrium nonlinear wave system where the interplay of the cavity geometry and nonlinear wave interactions mediated by the gain medium determines the self-organized oscillation frequencies and the associated spatial field patterns. In the steady state, a constant energy flux flows through the laser from the pump to the far field, with the ratio of the total output power to the input power determining the power-efficiency. Although nonlinear wave interactions have been modelled and well understood since the early days of laser theory, their impact on the power-efficiency of a laser system is poorly understood. Here, we show that spatial hole burning interactions generally decrease the power-efficiency. We then demonstrate how spatial hole burning interactions can be controlled by a spatially tailored pump profile, thereby boosting the power-efficiency, in some cases by orders of magnitude.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics