Abstract

The beam quality of a radial laser array, quantified in terms of the M2 propagation constant, is determined as a function of array element configuration. A lower bound on array M2 is estimated for both phase-locked and nonphase-locked conditions. It is shown that, to achieve near-unity M2 array, either aperture filling or spatial filtering is required in addition to phase locking. An aperture-filling method suitable for radial arrays of CO2 slab lasers is presented.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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