We present a simple and robust method for brightness enhancement, efficiently transforming a radially polarized LG mode into a nearly Gaussian beam of much higher quality. We use for this a spatially variable retardation plate and a spatial filter. The analysis shows that the transformation yields an increase in brightness by a factor of 3.4. In the experiment, we transformed a high-power Nd:YAG radially polarized LG beam with power of and into a nearly Gaussian beam with . This resulted in brightness enhancement by a factor of 2.6.
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