Diode-pumped, advectively-cooled gas lasers are a new family of lasers for applications requiring both high efficiency and high average power. However, these systems have the tendency for chemically reactive lasant species to interact with optical surfaces that experience high-irradiance laser light leading to beam aberrations and possible damage.
We demonstrated an effective method for introducing inert gas curtains to isolate and protect optical surfaces. The curtains, utilizing a flow conditioning design, were validated using multiple test methods. Fluid dynamics concepts pertaining to the performance of the curtains in the presence of laser process heating were examined along with the implications of scaling the system to a larger size.
This project leveraged and advanced Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's core competencies in laser and optical science and technology. These technical advances enable continuous wave high-power laser systems with good beam quality, reliability, and efficiency, which will enhance Laboratory experiments supporting many of Livermore's mission focus areas and have potential relevance to additional government and commercial applications.
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