A Modular Control Platform for a Diode Pumped Alkali Laser
AIR FORCE RESEARCH LAB KIRTLAND AFB NM DIRECTED ENERGY DIRECTORATE
Pagination or Media Count:
Many of the difficulties of creating compact, high power laser systems can be overcome if the heat dissipating properties of chemical lasers can be combined with the efficiency of diode lasers. Recently, the novel idea of using solid state diode lasers to pump gaseous gain media, such as is done in diode pumped alkali lasers DPALs, has been proposed and early experiments have shown promising results. However, a number of technical issues need to be overcome to realize high output power from these lasers. In order to achieve higher power, the efficiency of coupling between pump laser energy and the chemical cell must be increased, and eventually multiple high power diode pumps must be combined and synchronized so that their energy can pump the chemical cell. Additionally, an inter-cavity adaptive optics system may be a requirement to be able to propagate these lasers with high efficiency. DPAL systems are complex and require a significant amount of data fusion and active feedback to control and optimize their performance. There are a wide range of components including pump lasers, gain cells and monitoring points needed to study and refine the overall laser system. In support of this dynamic development environment, we have developed a hardware framework using commercial off the shelf COTS components which supports the rapid assembly of functional system blocks into a cohesive integrated system. Critical to this system are a simple communication protocol, industry standard communication pipes USB, Bluetooth, etc, and flexible high level scripting. Simplifying the integration process has the benefit of allowing flexible on the fly modifications to adapt the system as needed and enhance available functionality. The modular nature of the architecture allows scalability and adaptability as more pieces are added to the system.
- Lasers and Masers
- Electricity and Magnetism