High Energy Solid State Laser (SSL) for Ship Self-Defense

Period of Performance: 12/16/2002 - 06/11/2003

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

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

Abstract

Megawatt power lasers are required for military weapons applications. In order to allow such lasers to have unlimited time of operation in the field, they should be electrically driven. The power output of current solid-state lasers meeting this requirement is limited to kilowatt levels due to thermal issues and problems of degraded beam quality. Aculight proposes in this work to demonstrate the feasibility of scaling the power level of solid state laser technology orders of magnitude beyond the current state-of-the-art. The technical innovations involved are: · the use of a novel beam combination scheme which allows straightforward combination of beams from hundreds of individual lasers · a new technique for scaling of output power from individual fiber lasers while maintaining beam quality These two innovations allow high power generation to go beyond the limitations imposed by the complexity of coherent beam combination and the thermal limitations of conventional solid state lasers. In this work we intend to demonstrate that beam-combined fibers could be scaled to the 100kW power level. Many industrial applications exist for lasers generating kilowatt output power. These include marking, cutting, micro-processing, welding and drilling. It is estimated that the worldwide market for industrial lasers was ~$1bn in 2001.