Cost-Effective, Scalable, High-Power, Mid-IR Optically (laser) Pumped Molecular Laser Source

Period of Performance: 05/01/2000 - 04/11/2001

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Aculight Corp.
22121 - 20th Avenue SE
Bothell, WA 98021
Principal Investigator

Abstract

The advantageous properties of solid state fiber lasers, and gas laser converters are merged to provide high power mid-IR radiation for Air Force missions such as countermeasures and remote sensing. Previous attempts to develop mid-IR sources from solid state lasers has resulted in a few Watts of average power due to thermally induced aberrations in non-linear converters. Here we propose to combine the excellent beam quality of fiber laser pump sources with the efficiency and average power handling capabilities of optically pumped molecular lasers. The gas laser provides coherent beam combination and wavelength down conversion. Key elements of our approach include: a new diode pump source for fiber lasers, high energy narrowband fiber laser operation, SBS parasitic elimination, and a method for efficient absorption of fiber laser power by the molecular gas laser. This method of generating a high power source for the Air Force supports the LITE program by leveraging existing laser technology from the telecommunications and material processing industries. Beam combination techniques provide sources for telecommunications and medical imaging (optical coherent tomography).