Editorial Feature

Nd:YLF Lasers (Neodymium-Doped Yttrium Lithium Fluoride) - Properties and Applications

Neodymium-doped yttrium lithium fluoride (Nd:YLF) is the most common lasing medium for diode-pumped and arc lamp-pumped solid-state lasers. It is birefringent in nature, and its laser transitions occur at 1047 and 1053 nm. Nd:YLF crystal, is very brittle, slightly soluble in water and has a tendency to fracture easily.

Nd:YLF laser has an ability to yield higher pulse energies than Nd:YAG laser for repetition rates of a few kHz. It is mainly used in Q-switched systems owing to its relatively long fluorescence lifetime. As with Nd:YAG lasers, Q-switched Nd:YLF facilitates harmonic generation to produce shorter wavelengths. Nd:YLF lasers can be lamp-pumped or diode-pumped. When compared to Nd:YAG laser, Nd:YLF laser has low thermal conductivity. However, it exhibits weak thermal distortions to achieve high beam quality.

Other significant properties of Nd:YLF laser include:

  • Anisotropic thermal expansion
  • Longer upper-state lifetime
  • High UV transparency
  • Low fracture resistance.

Pumping ultrafast Ti:Sapphire chirped-pulse amplifiers is one of the most common applications of Nd:YLF laser.

Laser Properties

Laser Properties
Laser type Solid
Pump source Flashlamp, laser diode

Physical and Chemical Properties

Operating Wavelengths
1.047µm
1.053 µm
Physical and Chemical Properties
Chemical formula LiY1.0-×Nd×F4
Crystal structure Tetragonal
Melting point 819°C
Knoop hardness 300 kg/mm2
Thermal conductivity 6.3 W/m°C
Specific heat capacity (@25oC) 0.79 J/gK
Modulus of elasticity 85 GPa

Applications

Nd:YLF lasers are suitable for providing pump light to operate other lasers such as the Ti:Sapphire pulsed lasers which are the most preferred illumination source in multiphoton imaging techniques of fluorescence microscopy. It has also been used by some researchers in all-solid-state multiphoton systems, with the help of three-photon excitation mechanism.

Other suitable applications of Nd:YLF lasers include:

  • Spectroscopy
  • Particle image velocimetry
  • Applications that require high pulse energies.

Sources and Further Reading

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