Abstract

Spectral beam combining (SBC) by volume Bragg gratings (VBGs) recorded in photo-thermo-refractive (PTR) glass is a powerful tool for laser applications that require higher radiance than a single laser unit can achieve. The beam-combining factor (BCF) is introduced as a tool to compare various beam-combining methods and experiments. It describes the change of radiance provided by a beam-combining system but is not affected by the initial beam quality of the combined lasers. A method of optimization of VBGs providing the maximum efficiency of SBC has been described for an arbitrary number of beams. An experiment confirming the proposed modeling for a two-beam SBC system by a single VBG has demonstrated a total combined power of 301 W with a channel separation of 0.25 nm, combining efficiency of 97%, close to diffraction limited divergence with M2=1.18, BCF of 0.77, and spectral radiance of 770TW/(sr·m2·nm), the highest to date for SBC.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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