Coherent beam combination of Yb:YAG single-crystal rod amplifiers
Coherent combination of ultrashort laser pulses emitted from spatially separated amplifiers is a promising power-scaling technique for ultrafast laser systems. It has been successfully applied to fiber amplifiers, since guidance of the signal provides the advantage of an excellent beam quality and straightforward superposition of beams as compared to bulk-type amplifier implementations. Herein we demonstrate, for the first time to our knowledge, a two-channel combining scheme employing Yb:YAG single-crystal rod amplifiers as an energy booster in a fiber chirped-pulse amplification system. In this proof-of-principle experiment, combined and compressed pulses with a duration of 695 fs and an energy of 3 mJ (3.7 GW of peak power) are obtained. The combining efficiency is as high as 94% and the beam quality of the combined output is characterized by a measured M2-value of 1.2.