A large-core multimode optical fiber of a few meters length is studied as a 10-MW beam delivery system for a 15-ns pulsed Nd:YAG laser. A laser-to-fiber vacuum coupler is used to inhibit air breakdown and reduce the probability of dielectric breakdown on the fiber front surface. Laser-induced damage inside the fiber core is observed behind the fiber front surface. An explanation based on a high power density is illustrated by a ray trace. Damaged spots and measurements of fiber output energies are reported for two laser beam distributions: a flat-hat type and a near-Gaussian type. Experiments have been performed to deliver a 100-pulse mean energy between 100 and 230 mJ without catastrophic damage.
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