Abstract

Power scaling of end-pumped laser rod amplifiers is challenging due to beam distortions at high powers. It is difficult to understand these distortions since several physical effects also contribute simultaneously to the problem. We present a detailed investigation of the beam distortions by numerical simulation and experiments in different gain regimes (passive regime with no gain, small signal gain regime, and saturated gain regime) to decouple effects caused by thermal lensing from aberrations induced by the transversal gain profile. The simulation and experiment are in good agreement and show the influence of the gain regime in the details and reveal a significant impact of the transversal gain profile on the output beam quality.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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