18 June 2012 Waveform agile high-power fiber laser illuminators for directed-energy weapon systems
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Abstract
A kW-class fiber-amplifier based laser illuminator system at 1030nm is demonstrated. At 125 kHz pulse repetition rate, 1.9mJ energy per pulse (235W average power) is achieved for 100nsec pulses with >72% optical conversion efficiency, and at 250kHz repetition, >350W average power is demonstrated, limited by the available pumps. Excellent agreement is established between the experimental results and dynamic fiber amplifier simulation, for predicting the pulse shape, spectrum and ASE accumulation throughout the fiber-amplifier chain. High pulse-energy, high power fiber-amplifier operation requires careful engineering - minimize ASE content throughout the pre-amplifier stages, use of large mode area gain fiber in the final power stage for effective pulse energy extraction, and pulse pre-shaping to compensate for the laser gain-saturation induced intra-pulse and pulse-pattern dependent distortion. Such optimization using commercially available (VLMA) fibers with core size in the 30-40μm range is estimated to lead to >4mJ pulse energy for 100nsec pulse at 50kHz repetition rate. Such waveform agile high-power, high-energy pulsed fiber laser illuminators at λ=1030nm satisfies requirements for active-tracking/ranging in high-energy laser (HEL) weapon systems, and in uplink laser beacon for deep space communication.
© (2012) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Doruk Engin, Wei Lu, Frank Kimpel, and Shantanu Gupta "Waveform agile high-power fiber laser illuminators for directed-energy weapon systems", Proc. SPIE 8381, Laser Technology for Defense and Security VIII, 838118 (18 June 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.919761; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.919761
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