Accession Number:

ADA517983

Title:

High-Power Fiber Lasers for Directed-Energy Applications

Descriptive Note:

Journal article

Corporate Author:

NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC PLASMA PHYSICS DIV

Report Date:

2008-01-01

Pagination or Media Count:

12.0

Abstract:

High-power fiber lasers can be incoherently combined to form the basis of a high-energy laser system for directed-energy applications. These applications include tactical directed energy and power beaming. Incoherent combining of fiber lasers has a number of advantages over other laser beam combining methods. The incoherently combined laser system is relatively simple, highly efficient, compact, robust, low-maintenance, and reliable. In this article, we characterize the atmospheric propagation of incoherently combined, high optical quality laser beams and compare them with other types of laser beams and combining methods. For tactical directed-energy applications, we find that the propagation efficiency of incoherently combined high optical quality beams is near the theoretical upper limit for any laser system with the same beam director and total power. We present results of the first atmospheric propagation experiments using incoherently combined, kilowatt-class, single-mode fiber lasers. These NRL field experiments combined four fiber lasers using a beam director consisting of individually controlled steering mirrors. The transmitted continuous-wave power was 3 kW at a range of 1.2 km with a demonstrated propagation efficiency of tilde 90 in moderate atmospheric turbulence. The experimental results are found to be in good agreement with simulations and theory.

Subject Categories:

  • Electrical and Electronic Equipment
  • Lasers and Masers
  • Defense Systems
  • Directed Energy Weapons
  • Fiber Optics and Integrated Optics
  • Atmospheric Physics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE