Aqwest develops a new generation of high-average power laser oscillators and amplifiers, laser crystals, and ultrashort pulse laser systems based on its exclusive high-performance edge-pumped disk laser technology with wavelengths choices ranging from 1 to 3 microns. Aqwest technologies overcome some of the toughest challenges in laser design including preservation of beam quality, amplification of high-energy pulses, and operation at eye-safe wavelengths.
Our laser innovations address the needs of the US Department of Defense, the aerospace industry, and the high-energy particle research community worldwide.
Aqwest is an exclusive developer of the innovative Edge-Pumped Disk Laser (EPDL), offering superior scalability to high-average power and high-energy pulses in a compact, lightweight, and robust package.
Edge pumping allows for reduced doping of crystal with laser ions, which translates to a lower lasing threshold in Yb, erbium (Er) and other quasi-3-level materials. This approach improves laser efficiency and reduces waste heat load, thus drastically reducing thermo-optical distortions in the crystal. This in turn enables operation at high-average power with excellent beam quality (BQ).
Our design uses a composite laser disk made of polycrystalline (ceramic) material. The laser disk has a doped center and undoped edge to efficiently concentrate pump radiation, mitigate amplified spontaneous emission (ASE), and to reduce thermal stresses in the disk. EPDL development was in-part supported by a contract from DARPA and multiple contracts from the US Army ARDEC.
EPDL provides a highly uniform gain and effective cooling by our high-performance, ultra-rigid micro-channel heat sink, which is critical to production of near-diffraction-limited BQ. As a result, the EPDL offers ambient temperature performance comparable to a cryogenic laser.
If desired, the laser gain profile can be also tailored to produce specific (e.g., super-Gaussian) laser beam profiles.
Aqwest amplifiers offer high gain (up to 100x and beyond), high-stored energy (up to 10’s of Joules), large lasing aperture (up to about 5 cm), use one or more edge-pumped disk lasers together with relay optics allowing the seed laser beam to make a large number of extraction passes through the laser disks.
One attractive version of the amplifier uses two (2) laser disk modules with relay optics for a large number of extracting passes. Our proprietary configuration of relay optics – preferably monolithic multi-faceted – provide least number of reflective surfaces, thereby reducing internal losses and simplify alignment. The two laser disks may be made of two different lasing materials with overlapping spectra, which broadens the useful bandwidth. This feature is critically important in chirped-pulse amplification of ultrashort (femtosecond) pulses. Our two-disk Yb:YAG amplifier recently demonstrated a gain of 29. Near term development targets a gain of 100. The amplifier development was in-part supported by the US Army ARDEC.
Aqwest designs and fabricates complex, composite, and precision solid-state laser “crystals” of broad range of sizes from variety of solid-state laser materials including glass, polycrystaline (ceramic) YAG, and polycrystaline yittria doped with Nd, Yb, and/or Er lasants. Composits may also include an integral absorber for suppression of amplified spontaneous emission (ASE).
As an exceptional achievement, our team has designed and fabricated the largest known three-part ceramic YAG composite with Nd-doped portion, Sm-doped portion, and undoped perimeter.
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15. Drew A. Copeland, “Optical Extraction Model and Optimal Outcoupling for a CW Quasi-Three Level Thin Disk Laser,” in SPIE Vol. 7912, 2011
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18. J. Vetrovec, D. A. Copeland, A. Litt, and D. Du, “ Erbium-Based Edge-Pumped Disk Laser,” SPIE Paper 8599-61 (2013)