Laser remote sensing technique using coherent lidar systems are being widely used for wind measurements. Laser wind measurements use the Doppler shift of backscattered radiation to determine the wind speed. To measure the small Doppler shifts accurately heterodyne detection is used. This technique requires an energetic, low divergence, narrow linewidth laser transmitter to maintain a high degree of coherence. For measurements from ground, air, or space platform, a reliable, all solid-state laser transmitter in the eye-safe region with appreciable energy/pulse is required. This paper reports development and performance of a diode-pumped solid-state amplifiers at 2-micrometer. Q-switched, 400-ns pulses with output energy of 700 mJ at 2-micrometer, representing an optical-to-optical efficiency of 2%, was achieved from five diode-pumped Ho:TM:YLF laser amplifiers at room-temperature.
A comparative evaluation of a stable resonator, self-filtering unstable resonator, and an unstable resonator with a graded reflectivity mirror (GRM) as the output coupler is presented. The GRM resonator produced a slope efficiency of 1.4 percent, best beam quality (1.4 times diffraction limit), and highest conversion efficiency (50 percent). Other accomplishments include determination of the importance of measuring thermal focusing when designing unstable resonators, development of techniques in measuring thermal focusing and birefringence in laser materials, and development of a high brightness laser system for efficient second harmonic conversion.
A description of a frequency doubled, double pulsed Nd:YAG laser that is to be used to pump an injection locked Ti:Sapphire power oscillator is presented. These two lasers make up the transmitter portion of the Lidar Atmospheric Sensing Experiment (LAWSE) instrument. LASE is a Lidar/DIAL experiment that is to measure water vapor in the troposphere. By utilizing the twin concept, both pulses can be produced with a single laser system, thereby minimizing cost, size, and weight. Alignment problems associated with having two separate lasers each produce one of the twin pulses are also alleviated. The LASE transmitter consists of a doubled pulsed Nd:YAG laser that will pump a Ti:Sapphire power oscillator that will be injection-locked by a diode laser. The wavelength of the Ti:Sapphire output will be tunable from 813 to 818 nm. A performance summary of the pump laser is given. The data verify that the pump laser can meet the performance requirements to pump the Ti:Sapphire power oscillator.
The laser performance of Nd:Cr:GSGG and Nd:YAG was investigated and compared for laser efficiency, thermal focusing, and depolarization effects. Laser efficiency was studied for Nd:Cr:GSGG and Nd:YAG under similar conditions. Laser efficiency was measured as a function of electrical energy and output mirror reflectivity. Maximum laser efficiency was calculated by determining the losses in the laser cavity. Thermal focusing and birefringence loss of Nd:Cr:GSGG and Nd:YAG have been examined by varying the average pump power. The average pump power changed by adjusting both the energy per pulse and the pulse-repetition frequency. Substantial thermal focusing differences for Nd:Cr:GSGG are explained.