Synopsis: Power management

A model of laser amplification that accounts for beam focusing may allow more effective optimization of output power.
Synopsis figure
Credit: A. Ozawa et al., Phys. Rev. A (2010)

High-power laser systems are basic tools in atomic and plasma physics where interactions of electromagnetic fields with matter are studied at extreme conditions. Such laser systems usually start small: pulses from a stable, low-power laser with a precisely controlled frequency are sent into amplifiers that boost the pulse energy in stages, but often with the trade-off that pulse repetition rate must be sacrificed. Frontier research requires squeezing every last drop of energy out of the amplifiers, yet no simple theory exists for optimizing gain in a geometry where the input beam is being focused in the amplifying medium. Focused beams are more intense and should, in principle, increase the efficiency with which power is extracted from the amplifier.

In a paper in Physical Review A, Akira Ozawa and colleagues at the Max-Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching and the Fraunhofer Institute in Jena, both in Germany, now report a model for single-pass laser amplifiers that includes the effects of beam focusing and should allow optimum choices of operating parameters without decreasing the repetition rate. The authors have compared output power given by their simpler numerical calculations with a much more complex full-wave simulation, as well as experimental data, and find good agreement. Overall, the results permit a more straightforward optimization of experimental parameters that are ordinarily difficult to handle. – David Voss


Announcements

More Announcements »

Subject Areas

Optics

Previous Synopsis

Nuclear Physics

Time-saving steps

Read More »

Next Synopsis

Optics

Absorbing lasers

Read More »

Related Articles

Viewpoint: Cavity with Iron Nuclei Slows Down X Rays
Optics

Viewpoint: Cavity with Iron Nuclei Slows Down X Rays

Slow light effects have been measured for x rays using a cavity filled with iron nuclei, where the speed of light was reduced by a factor of 10,000. Read More »

Synopsis: Nanofiber Optical Memory
Quantum Information

Synopsis: Nanofiber Optical Memory

Light signals propagating down an ultrathin fiber can be temporarily stored in a cloud of cold atoms surrounding the fiber. Read More »

Synopsis: Zooming in on Failures
Optics

Synopsis: Zooming in on Failures

A near-infrared microscopy technique can detect defects in electronic devices with a resolution better than the diffraction limit of light. Read More »

More Articles