Abstract

The Laboratory for Laser Energetics plans to install KDP wedges on each beam line of the OMEGA laser system in order to improve the on-target laser uniformity by decreasing the instantaneous speckle through spatial averaging of the two resultant orthogonally polarized beams. The proposed wedge-production method, diamond turning, produces small residual scratch marks, causing each beam to acquire a pseudorandom phase perturbation. In addition, the orthogonally polarized beams interfere such that their combined polarization state continuously cycles through all elliptical states along any transverse plane. Since the nonlinear refractive index depends on the polarization state, intense beams accumulate a periodic phase perturbation that is greater for linear polarization. Propagation of both types of phase perturbation yields an intensity modulation that tends to be larger in the neighborhood of linear polarization, through a combination of diffraction and self- and cross-phase modulation. However, one- and two-dimensional calculations using a symmetrized split-step Fourier method demonstrate that diamond-turned KDP wedges are not a significant source of intensity modulation under OMEGA laser conditions. Installation of diamond-turned rather than polished wedges will reduce costs without adversely affecting the system performance.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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