An efficient technique in which fiber lasers are coherently added in free space is presented. Since the high power of the combined output light propagates in free space rather than inside, fiber optical damage and deleterious nonlinear effects are substantially reduced. Two different configurations are investigated. One involves conventional intracavity coupling between the lasers. The other is a novel configuration where the coupling is done out of the combined cavities. The latter configuration requires much less coupling for obtaining the same output power, so the damage to the fiber is further reduced.
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