Northrop Grumman Cutting Edge Optronics (NGCEO) has developed a robust line of diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) lasers for LIDAR applications. These lasers utilize a variety of design and manufacturing approaches depending on the platform, payload, and performance requirements of the system in which they will be utilized.
This work contains an analysis of the design and manufacturing trade space based on a number of system requirements – location (land, sea, airborne, space), SWaP, energy level, repetition rate (10s of Hz to 10s of kHz), beam quality, desired mode structure, etc. For airborne applications, data is presented for systems on helicopters, turbo-prop aircraft, and large jets. Data is also presented from systems with multiple injection seeding approaches for single longitudinal mode (SLM) operation.
Special attention is paid to utilizing NGCEO’s in-house diode array and gain module manufacturing capabilities to tailor all components of the laser to the application. For example, life test data from dozens of epitaxial wafers can be analyzed to pick the diode bar lot with the best performance for mission-critical systems.
A new generation of diode-pumped solid-state lasers has been developed that enables ultra-stable Ti:Sapphire pumping
at high energies. We report an injection-seeded, all diode-pumped high-energy Nd:YLF laser system based on a master
oscillator power amplifier (MOPA) configuration. The laser produces pulses with over 4 J of pulse energy at 10 Hz, 527
nm, and pulse duration of ~13 ns. The laser is specifically designed to produce a uniform, flat-top beam in the near field.
Details of the laser design are discussed. The master oscillator is an injection seeded electro-optical Q-switched TEM00
mode laser. It produces stable, temporally-smooth laser pulses as the source for the system. The uniformity of the flat top
beam is discussed. The pulse energy stability and beam pointing stability are thoroughly investigated and reported. The
lifetime test results for the pump diodes are also presented.