Coherent combining is a novel approach to scale the performance of laser amplifiers. The use of ultrashort pulses in a coherent combining setup results in new challenges compared to continuous wave operation or to pulses on the nanosecond timescale, because temporal and spectral effects such as self-phase modulation, dispersion and the optical path length difference between the pulses have to be considered. In this paper the impact of these effects on the combining process has been investigated and simple analytical equations for the evaluation of this impact have been obtained. These formulas provide design guidelines for laser systems using coherent combining. The results show that, in spite of the temporal and spectral effects mentioned above, for a carefully adjusted and stabilized system an excellent efficiency of the combining process can still be achieved.
©2011 Optical Society of America
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