A depressed cladding waveguide with record low loss of 0.12 dB/cm is inscribed in YAG:Nd(0.3at.%) crystal by femtosecond laser pulses with an elliptical beam waist. The waveguide is formed by a set of parallel tracks which constitute the depressed cladding. It is a key element for compact and efficient CW waveguide laser operating at 1064 nm and pumped by a multimode laser diode. Special attention is paid to mechanical stress resulting from the inscription process. Numerical calculation of mode distribution and propagation loss with the elasto-optical effect taken into account leads to the conclusion that the depressed cladding is a dominating factor in waveguide mode formation, while the mechanical stress only slightly distorts waveguide modes.
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