Abstract

We demonstrate coherent combining (phase locking) of seven laser beams emerging from an adaptive fiber- collimator array over a 7km atmospheric propagation path using a target-in-the-loop (TIL) setting. Adaptive control of the piston and the tip and tilt wavefront phase at each fiber-collimator subaperture resulted in automatic focusing of the combined beam onto an unresolved retroreflector target (corner cube) with precompensation of quasi-static and atmospheric turbulence-induced phase aberrations. Both phase locking (piston) and tip–tilt control were performed by maximizing the target-return optical power using iterative stochastic parallel gradient descent (SPGD) techniques. The performance of TIL coherent beam combining and atmospheric mitigation was significantly increased by using an SPGD control variation that accounts for the round-trip propagation delay (delayed SPGD).

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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