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Highly-efficient, frequency-tripled Nd:YAG laser for spaceborne LIDARs

: Treichel, R.; Hoffmann, H.-D.; Luttmann, J.; Morasch, V.; Nicklaus, K.; Wührer, C.

Fulltext ()

International Conference on Space Optics, ICSO 2008. Proceedings : 14-17 October 2008, Toulouse, France
Bellingham, WA: SPIE, 2017 (Proceedings of SPIE 10566)
Art.105661O, 8 pp.
International Conference on Space Optics (ICSO) <2008, Toulouse>
Conference Paper, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer ILT ()

For a spaceborne lidar a highly reliable, long living and efficient laser source is absolutely essential. Within the frame of the development of a laser source for the backscatter lidar ATLID, which will be flown on EarthCare mission, we setup and tested a predevelopment model of an injection-seeded, diode pumped, frequency tripled, pulsed high power Nd:YAG MOPA laser operating nominally at 100 Hz pulse repetition frequency. We also tested the burst operation mode. The excellent measured performance parameter will be introduced. The oscillator rod is longitudinally pumped from both sides. The oscillator has been operated with three cavity control methods: "Cavity Dither", "Pound-Drever-Hall" and "Adaptive Ramp & Fire". Especially the latter method is very suitable to operate the laser in harsh vibrating environment such in airplanes. The amplifier bases on the InnoSlab design concept. The constant keeping of a moderate fluence in the InnoSlab crystal permits excellent possibilities to scale the pulse energy to several 100 mJ. An innovative pump unit and optics makes the laser performance insensitive to inhomogeneous diode degradation and allows switching of additional redundant diodes. Further key features have been implemented in a FM design concept. The operational lifetime is extended by the implementation of internal redundancies for the most critical parts. The reliability is increased due to the higher margin onto the laser induced damage threshold by a pressurized housing. Additionally air-to-vacuum effects becomes obsolete. A high efficient heat removal concept has been implemented.