Abstract

The adequacy of commercial quasi-continuous high-power laser diode arrays (HPLDAs) as pump sources for spaceborne lasers has been assessed by endurance tests up to 3×109 shots under various stress conditions, vacuum operation up to 0.36×109 shots, and proton radiation tests. Observations of the evolution of the electro-optic parameters and of the near-field patterns of the HPLDAs during endurance tests have revealed that some diode bars could reach the required lifetime of a multibillion shots, suggesting how to build long lifetime HPLDAs by proper selection of the diode bars. The robustness of the HPLDAs against the proton environment experienced in a typical low Earth orbit has been checked. Finally, high-power laser diode arrays have been operated under vacuum, showing a behavior similar to that of HPLDAs operating in atmospheric conditions.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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