The spectral properties of Nd‐doped YVO4
, grown from the melt, have been determined. In absorption the Stark split levels are reduced in comparison to other Nd‐doped materials. The Nd ion appears to be in a cubic crystal field even though it substitutes for Y whose point symmetry is less than (4m)
. The reduced Stark splitting, caused by an admixture of 4f
wave functions, leads to efficient, low‐threshold laser action. Transfer of energy from the lattice to Nd ions is also observed.