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100 W-level peak power laser system tunable in the LWIR applied to detection of persistent chemical agents

: Gutty, Francois; Grisard, Arnaud; Larat, Christian; Papillon, Dominique; Schwarz, Muriel; Lallier, Eric; Tholl, Hans Dieter; Münzhuber, Franz; Kunz, Jürgen; Raab, Michael; Rattunde, Marcel; Hugger, Stefan; Kastek, Mariusz; Piatkowski, Tadeusz; Brygo, François; Awanzino, Cédric; Wilsenack, Frank


George, T. ; Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers -SPIE-, Bellingham/Wash.:
Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications X : 15-19 April 2018, Orlando, Florida, United States
Bellingham, WA: SPIE, 2018 (Proceedings of SPIE 10639)
ISBN: 978-1-5106-1790-2
ISBN: 978-1-5106-1789-6
Paper 106392E, 12 S.
Conference "Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications" <10, 2018, Orlando/Fla.>
Fraunhofer IAF ()
asers and laser optics; tunable laser; external cavity quantum cascade laser; optical parametric amplifier; fiber optic amplifier and oscillator; remote sensing; stand-off detection; European Defence Agency

Through the European Defence Agency, the Joint Investment Programme on CBRN protection funded the project AMURFOCAL to address detection at stand-off distances with amplified quantum cascade laser technology in the longwave infrared spectral range, where chemical agents have specific absorptions features. An instrument was developed based on infrared backscattering spectroscopy. We realized a pulsed laser system with a fast tunability from 8 to 10 μm using an external-cavity quantum cascade laser (EC-QCL) and optical parametric amplification (OPA). The EC-QCL is tunable from 8 to 10 μm and delivers output peak powers up to 500 mW. The peak power is amplified with high gain in an orientation-patterned gallium arsenide (OP-GaAs) nonlinear crystal. We developed a pulsed fiber laser acousto-optically tunable from 1880 to 1980 nm with output peak powers up to 7 kW as pump source to realize an efficient quasi-phase matched OPA without any mechanical or thermal action onto the nonlinear crystal. Mixing the EC-QCL and the pump beams within the OP-GaAs crystal and tuning the pump wavelength enables parametric amplification of the EC-QCL from 8 to 10 μm leading to up to 120 W peak power. The output is transmitted to a target at a distance of 10 – 20 m. A receiver based on a broadband infrared detector comprises a few detector elements. A 3D data cube is registered by wavelength tuning the laser emission while recording a synchronized signal received from the target. The presentation will describe the AMURFOCAL instrument, its functional units and its principles of operation.