Transverse mode instabilities (TMI) have become a very serious problem for the further scaling of the average power of fiber laser systems. Recently the strong impact that photodarkening (PD) has on the TMI threshold of Yb-doped fiber laser systems has been revealed. This is a remarkable finding since it opens the door to a significant increase of the average power of fiber laser systems in the near future. The key to achieve this is to reduce the amount of PD losses in the fiber, which can be done with an optimization of the glass composition in the fiber. In this work we perform a theoretical study on the impact that co-dopants such as Al and P have on PD and on the TMI threshold. This analysis tries to find the optimum glass composition from the point of view of TMI. It is shown that in a short rod type fiber, changing the glass composition only leads to a modest increase of the TMI threshold due to the degradation of the cross-sections. This demonstrates that the optimization of the glass cannot be done attending only to the PD losses at the cost of the laser cross-sections. In spite of this, changing the glass composition can bring benefits in pulsed operation in terms of the stored energy. Additionally, other fiber geometries different from the rod-type can benefit in a greater degree by introducing co-dopants in the glass.
Cesar Jauregui, Hans-Jürgen Otto, Christoph Stihler, Jens Limpert, and Andreas Tünnermann, "The impact of core co-dopants on the mode instability threshold of high-power fiber laser systems," Proc. SPIE 10083, Fiber Lasers XIV: Technology and Systems, 100830N (Presented at SPIE LASE: January 31, 2017; Published: 22 February 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2251830.
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