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Aculight Demos 1-MW Fiber Amp

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BOTHELL, Wash., July 28 -- Aculight Corp., a developer of laser technologies, has demonstrated a 1-megawatt peak-power pulsed fiber amplifier with diffraction-limited beam quality and narrow linewidth. The company said the device's peak spectral brightness is unprecedented, making it suitable for many industrial and aerospace applications.

Aculight researcher Fabio Di Teodoro presented results from the system in a paper at the 18th Annual Solid State and Diode Laser Technology Review conference, held this month in Los Angeles. Aculight's prototype device uses a photonic-crystal fiber amplifier to generate 1064-nm, 450-ps pulses of 1.1-megawatt peak power and 0.54-millijoule energy. It delivers 7 watts of average power at repetition rates over 10 kHz.

Aculight said the device exhibits diffraction-limited beam quality (M2 = 1.04) and narrow spectral linewidth (<10 GHz), and that it is the first megawatt-level, single-mode fiber amplifier to produce pulses of subnanometer linewidth and diffraction-limited beam quality.

"We have successfully combined high peak power with diffraction-limited beam quality and narrow spectral linewidth, and that's completely unique," said Di Teodoro. "This new device marries the advantages of fiber lasers with the power level and brightness necessary for applications such as materials processing. It really opens up new possibilities for high-power, compact, efficient fiber sources in applications that currently rely on bulky and typically expensive nonfiber-based laser systems."

Fiber lasers have been limited to peak powers of around 100 kilowatts, because high-peak-power optical pulses in the fiber core cause nonlinear optical effects leading to severe spectral broadening, performance degradation or fiber damage. Aculight said its device uses a novel type of photonic-crystal fiber that enables high-peak-power pulses with narrow spectral linewidth while generating diffraction-limited beam quality.

Aculight developed the pulsed fiber amplifier for a military customer, but it says it plans to further develop the technology so it can be made available to the commercial marketplace.

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Jul 2005
Aculightdefenseindustriallaser technologiesNews & Featurespulsed fiber amplifier

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