A long-standing challenge for semiconductor lasers is scaling the optical power and brightness of many diode lasers by
coherent beam combination. Because single-mode semiconductor lasers have limited power available from a single
element, there is a strong motivation to coherently combine the outputs of many elements for applications including
industrial lasers for materials processing, free space optical communications, and defense. Despite the fact that such a
coherently-combined source is potentially the most efficient laser, coherent combination of semiconductor lasers is
generally considered to be difficult, since precise phase control is required between elements.
We describe our approach to coherent combination of semiconductor lasers. The Slab-Coupled Optical Waveguide
Laser (SCOWL), invented at Lincoln Laboratory, is used as the single-mode diode laser element for coherent
combination. With a 10-element SCOWL array, coherently combined output power as high as 7 W in continuous wave
using an external cavity has been demonstrated, which is the highest output level achieved using a coherent array of
semiconductor lasers. We are currently working on a related approach to scale the coherent power up to 100 W.