25 February 2014 Narrow line diode laser stacks for DPAL pumping
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Diode pumped alkali metal vapor lasers (DPALs) offer the promise of scalability to very high average power levels while maintaining excellent beam quality, making them an attractive candidate for future defense applications. A variety of gain media are used and each requires a different pump wavelength: near 852nm for cesium, 780nm for rubidium, 766nm for potassium, and 670nm for lithium atoms. The biggest challenge in pumping these materials efficiently is the narrow gain media absorption band of approximately 0.01nm. Typical high power diode lasers achieve spectral widths around 3nm (FWHM) in the near infrared spectrum. With state of the art locking techniques, either internal to the cavity or externally mounted gratings, the spectral width can typically be reduced to 0.5nm to 1nm for kW-class, high power stacks. More narrow spectral width has been achieved at lower power levels. The diode’s inherent wavelength drift over operating temperature and output power is largely, but not completely, eliminated. However, standard locking techniques cannot achieve the required accuracy on the location of the spectral output or the spectral width for efficient DPAL pumping. Actively cooled diode laser stacks with continuous wave output power of up to 100W per 10mm bar at 780nm optimized for rubidium pumping will be presented. Custom designed external volume holographic gratings (VHGs) in conjunction with optimized chip material are used to narrow and stabilize the optical spectrum. Temperature tuning on a per-bar-level is used to overlap up to fifteen individual bar spectra into one narrow peak. At the same time, this tuning capability can be used to adjust the pump wavelength to match the absorption band of the active medium. A spectral width of <0.1nm for the entire stack is achieved at <1kW optical output power. Tuning of the peak wavelength is demonstrated for up to 0.15nm. The technology can easily be adapted to other diode laser wavelengths to pump different materials.
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Tobias Koenning, Tobias Koenning, David Irwin, David Irwin, Dean Stapleton, Dean Stapleton, Rajiv Pandey, Rajiv Pandey, Tina Guiney, Tina Guiney, Steve Patterson, Steve Patterson, "Narrow line diode laser stacks for DPAL pumping", Proc. SPIE 8962, High Energy/Average Power Lasers and Intense Beam Applications VII, 89620F (25 February 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2044723; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2044723


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