The modulation instability (MI) is one of the main factors responsible for the degradation of beam quality in high-power laser systems. The so-called B-integral restriction is commonly used as the criteria for MI control in passive optics devices. For amplifiers the adiabatic model, assuming locally the Bespalov-Talanov expression for MI growth, is commonly used to estimate the destructive impact of the instability. We present here the exact solution of MI development in amplifiers. We determine the parameters which control the effect of MI in amplifiers and calculate the MI growth rate as a function of those parameters. The safety range of operational parameters is presented. The results of the exact calculations are compared with the adiabatic model, and the range of validity of the latest is determined. We demonstrate that for practical situations the adiabatic approximation noticeably overestimates MI. The additional margin of laser system design is quantified.
©2010 Optical Society of America
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