25 October 2013 Comparison of three methods reducing the beam parameter product of a laser diode stack for long range laser illumination applications
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Abstract
Laser diode stacks are interesting laser sources for active imaging illuminators. They allow the accumulation of large amounts of energy in multi-pulse mode, which is well suited for long-range image recording. Even when laser diode stacks are equipped with fast-axis collimation (FAC) and slow-axis collimation (SAC) microlenses, their beam parameter product (BPP) are not compatible with a direct use in highly efficient and compact illuminators. This is particularly true when narrow divergences are required such as for long range applications. To overcome these difficulties, we conducted investigations in three different ways. A first near infrared illuminator based on the use of conductively cooled mini-bars was designed, realized and successfully tested during outdoor experimentations. This custom specified stack was then replaced in a second step by an off-the-shelf FAC + SAC micro lensed stack where the brightness was increased by polarization overlapping. The third method still based on a commercial laser diode stack uses a non imaging optical shaping principle resulting in a virtually restacked laser source with enhanced beam parameters. This low cost, efficient and low alignment sensitivity beam shaping method allows obtaining a compact and high performance laser diode illuminator for long range active imaging applications. The three methods are presented and compared in this paper.
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Yves Lutz, Jean-Michel Poyet, Nicolas Metzger, "Comparison of three methods reducing the beam parameter product of a laser diode stack for long range laser illumination applications", Proc. SPIE 8896, Electro-Optical and Infrared Systems: Technology and Applications X, 889608 (25 October 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2028635; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2028635
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