Recent work on high-power fiber amplifiers report on a degradation of the output beam quality or even on the appearance of mode instabilities. By combining the transversally resolved rate equations with a 3D Beam propagation method we have managed to create a model able to provide an explanation of what we believe is at the root of this effect. Even though this beam quality degradation is conventionally linked to transversal hole burning, our simulations show that this alone cannot explain the effect in very large mode area fibers. According to the model presented in this paper, the most likely cause for the beam quality degradation is an inversion-induced grating created by the interplay between modal interference along the fiber and transversal hole burning.
©2011 Optical Society of America
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