Spinel (MgAl2O4) is a crystal that has been used as a Q-switching material for solid-state lasers. It is a transparent, ceramic material that has excellent mechanical and thermal properties, as well as a high damage threshold. These properties make it suitable for use in high-energy pulsed laser systems.

Spinel has a broadband absorption spectrum that can be tuned to match the lasing wavelength, which makes it suitable for use in a wide range of laser systems. The spinel crystal can be doped with different transition metal ions such as Cr, Fe, and Co to create Q-switching crystals. Among these, Cr-doped spinel is the most commonly used Q-switching crystal.

When the spinel crystal is exposed to laser light, the chromium ions in the crystal absorb the light and become excited. As the excitation level of the ions reaches a certain threshold, they begin to saturate and the absorption decreases rapidly. This effect causes the crystal to switch from a high-loss state to a low-loss state, allowing the laser to produce a high-energy pulse.

Spinel has a number of advantages over other Q-switching crystals. It has a high thermal conductivity, which means that it can handle high-energy laser pulses without overheating. It also has a low thermal expansion coefficient, which means that it is less likely to crack or fracture under thermal stress. In addition, spinel has a wide spectral range, which makes it useful for a variety of laser systems.

Spinel has been used in a range of applications, including laser ranging, remote sensing, and laser-based defense systems. Its high damage threshold and mechanical and thermal properties make it a popular choice for Q-switching solid-state lasers that require high-energy pulses.

Wavelength, nm
1300 - 1600
Initial transmittance, %
10 - 99
Initial absorption coefficient, cm-1
Dopant level, cm-3
2 x 10-17- 3 x 1019
Relax. time of the exited state (4A2 !’ 4T1(4F) absorption), ns
Relax. time of the exited state (3T2 !’ 3A2 absorption), ns
Ground-state absorption cross-section, cm2
2 x 10-19@1.54 µm
Excited-state absorption cross-section, cm2
Optical length, mm
0.2 - 5
Diameter, mm
5 - 12

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