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18 December 2012Analysis on non-stationary thermo-optical effects occurring in laser mirrors under high heat load
The development of high energy and high power lasers based on solid state technology is mostly limited by thermal effects that occur inside the laser cavity under high heat loads and intensities. The thermo-optical effects emerging inside cavity mirrors, output couplers and windows can significantly degrade beam quality of such lasers. The knowledge on transient thermal effects occurring inside bulk laser elements exposed on laser intensities of several dozens of kW/cm2 is of special interest for some specific applications (e.g. heat capacity lasers). The goal of this paper were theoretical analysis and experimental verification of these effects. Tips for best materials choice for cavity mirrors, laser windows and output couplers were shown. Simple theoretical thermo-optical model was presented. The special laboratory setup allowing simultaneous registration of thermo-optical effects applying shearing interferometer and wavefront sensor (Shack-Hartmann test) was elaborated. The non-stationary and stationary thermo-optical effects emerging inside tested mirrors can be observed, be measured and resolved as result of surface absorption in coating layers and volume absorption in the material. The resolution of measurements: less than 0.1 K and thermally induced optical power of about 0.1 D were demonstrated.
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Mateusz Kaskow, Jan Tarka, Lukasz Gorajek, Jan K. Jabczynski, Waldemar Zendzian, Jacek Kwiatkowski, "Analysis on non-stationary thermo-optical effects occurring in laser mirrors under high heat load," Proc. SPIE 8697, 18th Czech-Polish-Slovak Optical Conference on Wave and Quantum Aspects of Contemporary Optics, 86971A (18 December 2012);