Abstract

We investigate the radial and azimuthal polarization degradation in high-power lasers induced by thermal aberrations. Thermal and propagation simulations, supported by measurements, show that thermally induced wavefront aberrations can strongly affect the polarization. Depolarization induced by primary aberrations and high-order azimuthal aberrations that arise in high-power rod-based lasers was analyzed along the beam propagation axis. Implications for pump-chamber design and amplifier architecture, in order to eliminate the depolarization effect, are discussed.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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