The direct use of diode lasers for high-power applications in material processing is limited to applications with relatively low beam quality and power density requirements. To achieve high beam quality one must use single-mode diode lasers, however with the drawback of relatively low optical output powers from these components. To realize a high-power system while conserving the high beam quality of the individual emitters requires coherent coupling of the emitters. Such a power-scalable system consisting of 19 slave lasers that are injection locked by one master laser has been built and investigated, with low-power diode lasers used for system demonstration. The optical power of the 19 injection-locked lasers is coupled into polarization-maintaining single-mode fibers and geometrically superimposed by a lens array and a focusing lens. The phase of each emitter is controlled by a simple electronic phase-control loop. The coherence of each slave laser is stabilized by computer control of the laser current and guarantees a stable degree of coherence of the whole system of 0.7. An enhancement factor of 13.2 in peak power density compared with that which was achievable with the incoherent superposition of the diode lasers was observed.
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