We present a semiconductor saturable absorber mirror (SESAM), which also acts as an output coupler at the same time. The influence of the output coupler transmission onto the absorber parameters is investigated theoretically, as well as experimentally. A passively Q-switched Nd:YVO4 microchip laser is built using such a nonlinear output coupler, yielding clean pulses of 143 ps duration, 48 nJ energy, and 572 W peak power. This result is compared with the traditional approach, where the SESAM is not used as an output coupler.

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