We report on efficient coherent addition of spatially incoherent multimode laser beam distributions. Such addition is demonstrated within a multi-channel laser resonator configuration, obtaining more than 90% combining efficiency while preserving the good beam quality. We explain the rather surprising physical phenomenon of coherently adding spatially incoherent light by self-phase-locking of each of the modal components within the multimode beams. Our approach could lead to significantly higher output powers concomitantly with good beam qualities than were hitherto possible in laser systems.
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