Abstract

The Beamlet is a single-beam prototype of future multibeam megajoule-class Nd:glass laser drivers for inertial confinement fusion. It uses a multipass main amplifier, adaptive optics, and efficient, high-fluence frequency conversion to the third harmonic. The Beamlet amplifier contains Brewster-angle glass slabs with a clear aperture of 39 cm × 39 cm and a full-aperture plasma-electrode Pockels cell switch. It has been successfully tested over a range of pulse lengths from 1–10 ns up to energies at 1.053 µm of 5.8 kJ at 1 ns and 17.3 kJ at 10 ns. A 39-actuator deformable mirror corrects the beam quality to a Strehl ratio of as much as 0.4. The 1.053-µm output has been converted to the third harmonic at efficiencies as high as 80% and fluences as high as 8.7 J/cm2 for 3-ns pulses.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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