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Accurate characterizations of the nonlinear refractive index of semiconductor disk laser (SDL) gain samples are of critical importance for understanding the behavior of self-mode-locked SDLs. Here we describe measurements of nonlinear lensing in an SDL gain sample for a wide range of optical pump intensities and using a probe which is on resonance with the quantum wells in the SDL gain sample and whose intensity, pulse duration, and spot size are chosen to be similar to those reported in self-mode-locked SDLs. Under these conditions, we determine an effective value of the nonlinear refractive index, n = −6.5 × 10−13 cm2/W at zero pump intensity, and find that the value of n changes by less than 25% over the range of pump intensities studied. The nonlinear refractive index is measured using a variation on the well-established z-scan technique, which was modified to make it better suited to the measurement of optically pumped samples.


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