Energy Scaling of Thin-Disk Lasers

Thomas Spinka | 18-ERD-038

Project Overview

Thermal management is of prime importance when increasing the average power of both continuous wave and pulsed laser systems. The thin-disk laser architecture has enjoyed great industrial and commercial success over the past decade due to its ability to minimize the thermal path length through the active volume of a laser gain medium to a heat sink. However, limitations remain in operating thin-disk lasers in pulsed mode at pulse energies above ~1 Joule due to the transverse amplified spontaneous emission process that is dominant in this geometry due to the large transverse-to-longitudinal aspect ratio of the active volume.

Our research demonstrated that it is possible to circumvent this practical limitation by modifying the geometry of the active volume. We developed a new method of fabricating doped active laser material feedstock for ceramic laser gain media and fabricated ASE-managed thin-disk laser devices with this new geometry in both ceramic and crystalline laser materials, opening the door to a compact, high-energy laser architecture capable of simultaneously supporting high average power operations.

Mission Impact

This research supports Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's core competency in Lasers and Optical Science and Technology and demonstrates a compact, practical method to increase the average power capability of joule-class laser systems in a way that is scalable beyond the current state of the art. This technology and architecture is relevant for enabling higher power secondary sources of particles and radiation, and may have additional relevance to existing high-priority U.S. national security needs.

Publications, Presentations, and Patents

Miller, John, Elhadj, Selim, and Spinka, Thomas. "Atomic Layer Deposition of Rare-Earth Oxides on Optical Grade Materials for Laser Gain Media." U.S. Patent Application #IL-13529A.