21 October 2016 Investigation on scalable high-power lasers with enhanced 'eye-safety' for future weapon systems
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Abstract
The possible use of lasers as weapons becomes more and more interesting for military forces. Besides the generation of high laser power and good beam quality, also safety considerations, e. g. concerning eye hazards, are of importance. The MELIAS (medium energy laser in the “eye-safe” spectral domain) project of ISL addresses these issues, and ISL has developed the most powerful solid-state laser in the "eye-safe" wavelength region up to now. „Eye safety” in this context means that light at a wavelength of > 1.4 μm does not penetrate the eye and thus will not be focused onto the retina. The basic principle of this technology is that a laser source needs to be scalable in power to far beyond 100 kW without a significant deterioration in beam quality. ISL has studied a very promising laser technology: the erbium heat-capacity laser. This type of laser is characterised by a compact design, a simple and robust technology and a scaling law which, in principle, allows the generation of laser power far beyond megawatts at small volumes. Previous investigations demonstrated the scalability of the SSHCL and up to 4.65 kW and 440 J in less than 800 ms have been obtained. Opticalto- optical efficiencies of over 41% and slope efficiencies of over 51% are obtained. The residual thermal gradients, due to non perfect pumping homogeneity, negatively affect the performance in terms of laser pulse energy, duration and beam quality. In the course of the next two years, ISL will be designing a 25 to 30 kW erbium heat-capacity laser.
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S. Bigotta, S. Bigotta, K. Diener, K. Diener, M. Eichhorn, M. Eichhorn, L. Galecki, L. Galecki, L. Geiss, L. Geiss, T. Ibach, T. Ibach, H. Scharf, H. Scharf, M. von Salisch, M. von Salisch, J. Schöner, J. Schöner, G. Vincent, G. Vincent, } "Investigation on scalable high-power lasers with enhanced 'eye-safety' for future weapon systems", Proc. SPIE 9990, High-Power Lasers 2016: Technology and Systems, 999003 (21 October 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2241505; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2241505
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