Disclosed are heterogeneous crystals for use in a laser cavity and methods of forming the crystals. A crystal can be a monolithic crystal containing a vanadate-based activator region and a vanadate-based Q-switch. Disclosed methods include hydrothermal growth techniques for the growth of differing layers on a host. A YVO4 host material can be doped in one region with a suitable active lasing ion and can be formed with another region that is doped with a saturable absorber. Regions can be formed with controlled thickness. Following formation, a heterogeneous crystal can be cut, polished and coated with mirror films at each end for use in a laser cavity to provide short pulses of high power emissions using high frequency pulse modes.
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