Accession Number:

ADA528353

Title:

Laser Demonstration and Performance Characterization of an Optically Pumped Alkali Laser System

Descriptive Note:

Doctoral thesis

Corporate Author:

AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2010-09-01

Pagination or Media Count:

127.0

Abstract:

Diode Pumped Alkali Lasers DPALs offer a promising approach for high power lasers in military applications that wont suffer from the long logistical trails of chemical lasers or the thermal management issues of diode pumped solid state lasers. This research focuses on characterizing a DPAL type system to gain a better understanding of using this type of laser as a directed energy weapon. A rubidium laser operating at 795nm is optically pumped by a pulsed titanium sapphire laser to investigate the dynamics of DPALs at pump intensities between 1.3 and 45 kWcm2 . Linear scaling as high as 32 times threshold is observed, with no evidence of second order kinetics. Comparison of laser characteristics with a quasi-two level analytic model suggests performance near the ideal steady-state limit, with the exception of mode matching. Additionally, the peak power has scaled linearly as high as 1 kW, suggesting aperature scaling to a few cm2 is sufficient to achieve tactical level laser powers. The temporal dynamics of the 100ns pump and rubidium laser pulses are presented, and the continually evolving laser efficiency provides insight into the bottlenecking of the rubidium atoms in the 2P32 state. Lastly, multiple excited states of rubidium and cesium were accessed through two photon absorption in the red, and yielded a blue and an IR photon through amplified stimulated emission. Threshold is modest at 0.3mJpulse, and slope efficiencies increase dramatically with alkali concentrations and peak at 0.4, with considerable opportunity for improvement. This versatile system might find applications for IR countermeasures or underwater communications.

Subject Categories:

  • Lasers and Masers
  • Fiber Optics and Integrated Optics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE