Abstract

High-radiance lasers are desired for many applications in defense and manufacturing. Spectral beam combining (SBC) by volume Bragg gratings (VBGs) is a very promising method for high-radiance lasers that need to achieve 100 kW level power. Laser-induced heating of VBGs under high-power radiation presents a challenge for maintaining Bragg resonance at various power levels without mechanical realignment. A novel thermal tuning technique and apparatus is presented that enables maintaining peak efficiency operation of the SBC system at various power levels without any mechanical adjustment. The method is demonstrated by combining two high-power ytterbium fiber lasers with high efficiency from low power to full combined power of 300 W (1.5 kW effective power), while maintaining peak combining efficiency within 0.5%.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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