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Mutual injection locking: a new architecture for high-power solid-state laser arrays

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7 Author(s)
Kurtz, R.M. ; Phys. Opt. Corp., Torrance, CA, USA ; Pradhan, R.D. ; Tun, N. ; Aye, T.M.
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In this paper, bidirectional (mutual) injection locking is demonstrated with solid-state lasers, producing significant improvements over traditional single-direction injection locking. Each laser element shares part of its output with other elements in bidirectional locking, distinct from single-direction (traditional) injection locking where one master laser provides the locking signal for a number of slaves. In a phase-locked array, the individual laser outputs add coherently, and the brightness of the entire array scales with the square of the number of elements, as if the active material diameter were increasing. Benefits of bidirectional locking, when compared to traditional injection locking, include reduced laser threshold, better output beam quality, and improved scaling capability. Experiments using two Nd:YVO4 lasers confirmed that mutual injection locking reduced lasing threshold by a factor of at least two and increased the output beam quality significantly. The injection-locking effects began with 0.03% coupling between lasers and full-phase locking for coupling exceeding 0.5%. The 0.5% requirement for full-phase locking is significantly lower than the requirement for traditional injection locking. The large coupling requirement limits traditional injection-locked arrays to fewer than 20 elements, whereas mutually injection-locked arrays have no such limit. Mutual injection locking of an array of lasers can lead to a new architecture for high-power laser systems.

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Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:11 ,  Issue: 3 )