Abstract

We have developed unique solar concentrators for solar-pumped solid-state lasers to improve both efficiency and laser output power. Natural sunlight is collected by a primary concentrator which is a 2m×2m Fresnel lens, and confined by a cone-shaped hybrid concentrator. Such solar power is coupled to a laser rod by a cylinder with coolant surrounding it that is called a liquid light-guide lens (LLGL). Performance of the cylindrical LLGL has been characterized analytically and experimentally. Since a 14 mm diameter LLGL generates efficient and uniform pumping along a Nd:YAG rod that is 6 mm in diameter and 100 mm in length, 120 W cw laser output is achieved with beam quality factor M2 of 137 and overall slope efficiency of 4.3%. The collection efficiency is 30.0W/m2, which is 1.5 times larger than the previous record. The overall conversion efficiency is more than 3.2%, which can be comparable to a commercial lamp-pumped solid-state laser. The concept of the light-guide lens can be applied for concentrator photovoltaics or other solar energy optics.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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