The coherent amplification network (CAN) aims at developing a laser system based on the coherent combination of multiple laser beams, which are produced through a network of high beam quality optical fiber amplifiers. The scalability of the CAN laser facilitates the development of many novel applications, such as fiber-based acceleration, orbital debris removal and inertial confinement fusion energy. According to the requirements of CAN and the front end of high-power laser facilities, a millijoule polarized fiber laser system was studied in this paper. Using polarization maintaining Ytterbium-fiber laser system as the seed, and 10-μm core Yb-doped fiber amplifier as the first power amplifier and 40-μm core polarizing (PZ) photonic crystal fiber (PCF) as the second power amplifier, the all-fiber laser system outputs 1.06-mJ energy at 10 ns and diffraction limited mode quality. Using 85-μm rod-type PCF as the third power amplifiers, 2.5-mJ energy at 10-ns pulse width was obtained with better than 500:1 peak-to-foot pulse shaping ability and fundamental mode beam quality. The energy fluctuation of the system is 1.3% rms with 1-mJ output in one hour. When using phase-modulated pulse as the seed, the frequency modulation to amplitude modulation (FM-to-AM) conversion ratio of the system is better than 5%. This fiber laser system has the advantages of high beam quality, high beam shaping ability, good stability, small volume and free of maintenance, which can be used in many applications.
In the research of inertial confinement fusion, laser plasma interaction (LPI) is becoming a key problem that affects ignition. Here, multi-frequency modulation (Multi-FM) smoothing by spectral dispersion (SSD), continuous phase plate (CPP) and polarization smoothing (PS) were experimentally studied and equipped on SG-III laser facility. After using these technologies, the focal spots of SG-III laser facility can be adjusted, controlled and repeated accurately. Experiments on SG-III laser facility indicate when the number of color cycles adopts 1, imposing SSD with 3.3 times diffraction limit (TDL) did not lead to pinhole closure in the spatial filters of the preamplifier and the main amplifier with 30-TDL pinhole size. The nonuniformity of the focal spots using Multi-FM SSD, CPP and PS drops to 0.18, comparing to 0.26 with CPP+SSD, and 0.84 with CPP and wedged lens. Polarization smoothing using flat birefringent plate in the convergent beam of final optics assembly (FOA) was studied.
Time fiducial laser is an important tool for the precise measurement in high energy density physics experiments. The VISAR probe laser is also vital for shock wave diagnostics in ICF experiments. Here, time fiducial laser and VISAR light were generated from one source on SG-III laser facility. After generated from a 1064-nm DFB laser, the laser is modulated by an amplitude modulator driven by 10 GS/s arbitrary waveform generator. Using time division multiplexing technology, the ten-pulse time fiducial laser and the 20-ns VISAR pulse were split by a 1×2 multiplexer and then chosen by two acoustic optic modulators. Using the technique, cost of the system was reduced. The technologies adopted in the system also include pulse polarization stabilization, high precision fiber coupling and energy transmission. The time fiducial laser generated synchronized 12-beam 2ω and 4-beam 3ω laser, providing important reference marks for different detectors and making it convenient for the analysis of diagnostic data. After being amplified by fiber amplifiers and Nd:YAG rod amplifiers, the VISAR laser pulse was frequency-converted to 532-nm pulse by a thermally controlled LBO crystal with final output energy larger than 20 mJ. Finally, the green light was coupled into a 1-mm core diameter, multimode fused silica optical fiber and propagated to the imaging VISAR. The VISAR laser has been used in the VISAR diagnostic physics experiments. Shock wave loading and slowdown processes were measured. Function to measure velocity history of shock wave front movement in different kinds of materials was added to the SG-III laser facility.
The paper presents the technical design and progress on a special high-power laser facility, i.e. XG-III, which is being used for high-field physics research and fast ignition research. The laser facility outputs synchronized nanosecond, picosecond and femtosecond beams with three wavelengths, i.e. 527 nm, 1053 nm and 800 nm respectively, and multiple combinations of the beams can be used for physics experiments. The commissioning of the laser facility was completed by the end of 2013. The measurement results show that the main parameters of the three beams are equal to or greater than the designed ones.
Precise physical experiments place strict requirements on target illumination uniformity in Inertial Confinement Fusion. To obtain a smoother focal spot and suppress transverse SBS in large aperture optics, Multi-FM smoothing by spectral dispersion (SSD) was studied combined with continuous phase plate (CPP) and polarization smoothing (PS). New ways of PS are being developed to improve the laser irradiation uniformity and solve LPI problems in indirect-drive laser fusion. The near field and far field properties of beams using polarization smoothing were studied and compared, including birefringent wedge and polarization control array. As more parameters can be manipulated in a combined beam smoothing scheme, quad beam smoothing was also studies. Simulation results indicate through adjusting dispersion directions of one-dimensional (1-D) SSD beams in a quad, two-dimensional SSD can be obtained. Experiments have been done on SG-III laser facility using CPP and Multi-FM SSD. The research provides some theoretical and experimental basis for the application of CPP, SSD and PS on high-power laser facilities.
Multi-FM SSD and CPP was experimentally studied in high fluence and will be equipped on all the beams of SG-III laser facility. The output spectrum of the cascade phase modulators are stable and the residual amplitude modulation is small. FM-to-AM effect caused by free-space propagation after using smoothing by spectral dispersion is theoretically analyzed. Results indicate inserting a dispersion grating in places with larger beam aperture could alleviate the FM-to- AM effect, suggesting minimizing free-space propagation and adopting image relay. Experiments taken on SG-III laser facility indicate when the number of color cycles (Nc) adopts 1, imposing of SSD with 3.3 times diffraction limit (TDL) did not lead to pinhole closure in the spatial filters of the preamplifier and main amplifier with 30-TDL pinhole size. The nonuniformity of the focal spot using Multi-FM SSD and CPP drops to 0.26, comparing to 0.84 only using CPP. The experiments solve some key technical problems using SSD and CPP on SG-III laser facility, and provide a flexible platform for laser-plasma interaction experiments. Combined beam smoothing and polarization smoothing are also analyzed. Simulation results indicate through adjusting dispersion directions of one-dimensional SSD beams in a quad, two-dimensional SSD could be obtained. The near field and far field properties of beams using polarization smoothing were also studied, including birefringent wedge and polarization control plate (PCP). By using PCP, cylindrical vector beams could be obtained. New solutions will be provided to solve the LPI problem encountered in indirect drive laser fusion.
This paper is focused on the research of SSD and CPP carried out on TIL. A bulk phase modulator with 9.2-GHz modulation frequency is adopted in SSD. The output spectrum of the phase modulator is stable and the residual amplitude modulation is small. FM-to-AM effect caused by free-space propagation after using smoothing by spectral dispersion is theoretically and experimentally studied. Results indicate inserting a dispersion grating in places with larger beam aperture alleviates the FM-to-AM effect, suggesting minimizing free-space propagation and adopting image relay. Experiments indicate when the number of color cycles (N<sub>c</sub>) adopts 1, imposing of SSD with 4.26 times diffraction limit (TDL) did not lead to pinhole closure in the spatial filters of the preamplifier with 20 TDL and main amplifier with 26 TDL. Experimental results also indicate SSD didn’t influence the load capacity of the laser facility. The contrast of the 440-μm diameter focal spot with 95% energy included using SSD and CPP drops to 0.47, comparing to 1.71 not using SSD and CPP. When the pulse width of the third harmonic wave is 1 ns and the energy is 1115 J, no damage is found in CPP and other final optics. The experiments solves some key technical problems using SSD and CPP on high-power laser facilities, and provides a flexible platform for the laser-plasma interaction experiments.
In order to suppress the mode noise of large mode area fiber amplifier system and enhance the signal to noise ratio
of the output pulse, spatial and temporal self shaping for large mode area fiber laser system are studied in this paper. For
removing off the mode noise, method of beam's spacial self-shaping based on mode matching is used. By the method of
mode matching, the cladding mode are removed off clearly. Then a large mode fiber amplifier with a strictly single mode
is obtained. For enhancing the signal to noise ratio of the output pulse, method of beam's temoral self-shaping based on
Optical Kerr effct in fiber is used. By using Optical Kerr effect, the pulse get nonlinear polarization ratation, which make
pulses selfly shaped in time and the ASE pedestal is removed off clearly. As a result, by spatial and temporal self shaping,
cleared pulses with a strictly single mode in spatial and cleaned pulses without ASE pedestal are obtained.
The optical pulse generation system of SG-III laser facility is presented. The optical time division
multiplexing (OTDM) technique, high speed electro-optic modulation technique, pulse
single-selected based on polarization independently acousto-optic modulation technique and pulse
polarization stabilization technique applied in low repetition rate mode are successfully employed in
the system. And also the phase modulation unit is at the last stage of the system, which could avoid
FM-AM effect induced in fiber system. The test experiment results showed that the demonstrated
specification is better than the designed to a certain degree.