The relations between range of operation and aperture of laser weapon system were investigated, taking into account diffraction and technical limitations as beam quality, accuracy of point tracking, technical quality of optical train, etc. As a result for the medium ranges of 1 - 2 km we restricted the analysis to apertures not wider than 150 mm and the optical system without adaptive optics. To choose the best laser beam shape, the minimization of aperture losses and thermooptical effects inside optics as well as the effective width of laser beam in far field should be taken into account. We have analyzed theoretically such a problem for the group of a few most interesting from that point of view profiles including for reference two limiting cases of Gaussian beam and ‘top hat’ profile. We have found that the most promising is the SuperGaussian profile of index p = 2 for which the surfaces of beam shaper elements can be manufactured in the acceptable cost-effective way and beam quality does not decrease noticeably. Further, we have investigated the thermo-optic effects on the far field parameters of Gaussian and ‘top hat’ beams to determine the influence of absorption in optical elements on beam quality degradation. The simplified formulae were derived for beam quality measures (parameter M2 and Strehl ratio) which enables to estimate the influence of absorption losses on degradation of beam quality.
Jan K. Jabczyński, Mateusz Kaśków, Łukasz Gorajek, and Krzysztof Kopczyński, "Analysis of optical scheme for medium-range directed energy laser weapon system," Proc. SPIE 10436, High-Power Lasers: Technology and Systems, Platforms, and Effects, 1043602 (Presented at SPIE Security + Defence: September 13, 2017; Published: 26 October 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2278143.
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