Intra–cavity laser beam shaping

Litvin, Igor A. (2010-03)

Thesis (PhD (Physics))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: There are many applications where a Gaussian laser beam is not ideal, for example, in areas such as medicine, data storage, science, manufacturing and so on, and yet in the vast majority of laser systems this is the fundamental output mode. Clearly this is a limitation, and is often overcome by adapting the application in mind to the available beam. A more desirable approach would be to create a laser beam as the output that is tailored for the application in mind – so called intra-cavity laser beam shaping. The main goal of intra-cavity beam shaping is the designing of laser cavities so that one can produce beams directly as the output of the cavity with the required phase and intensity distribution. Shaping the beam inside the cavity is more desirable than reshaping outside the cavity due to the introduction of additional external losses and adjustment problems. More elements are required outside the cavity which leads to additional costs and larger physical systems. In this thesis we present new methods for phase and amplitude intra– cavity beam shaping. To illustrate the methods we give both an analytical and numerical analysis of different resonator systems which are able to produce customised phase and intensity distributions. In the introduction of this thesis, a detailed overview of the key concepts of optical resonators is presented. In Chapter 2 we consider the well–known integral iteration algorithm for intra–cavity field simulation, namely the Fox–Li algorithm and a new method (matrix method), which is based on the Fox–Li algorithm and can decrease the computation time of both the Fox–Li algorithm and any integral iteration algorithms. The method can be used for any class of integral iteration algorithms which has the same calculation integrals, with changing integrants. The given method appreciably decreases the computation time of these algorithms and approaches that of a single iteration. In Chapter 3 a new approach to modeling the spatial intensity profile from Porro prism resonators is proposed based on rotating loss screens to mimic the apex losses of the prisms. A numerical model based on this approach is presented which correctly predicts the output transverse field distribution found experimentally from such resonators. In Chapter 4 we present a combination of both amplitude and phase shaping inside a cavity, namely the deployment of a suitable amplitude filter at the Fourier plane of a conventional resonator configuration with only spherical curvature optical elements, for the generation of Bessel–Gauss beams as the output. In Chapter 5 we present the analytical and numerical analyses of two new resonator systems for generating flat–top–like beams. Both approaches lead to closed form expressions for the required cavity optics, but differ substantially in the design technique, with the first based on reverse propagation of a flattened Gaussian beam, and the second a metamorphosis of a Gaussian into a flat–top beam. We show that both have good convergence properties, and result in the desired stable mode. In Chapter 6 we outline a resonator design that allows for the selection of a Gaussian mode by diffractive optical elements. This is made possible by the metamorphosis of a Gaussian beam into a flat–top beam during propagation from one end of the resonator to the other. By placing the gain medium at the flat–top beam end, it is possible to extract high energy in a low–loss cavity.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Daar is verskeie toepassings waar ʼn Gaussiese laser bundel nie ideaal is nie, in gebiede soos mediese veld, stoor van data, vervaardiging en so meer, en tog word die meeste laser sisteme in die fundamentele mode bedryf. Dit is duidelik ’n beperking, en word meestal oorkom deur aanpassing van die toepassing tot die beskikbare bundel. ’n Beter benadering sou wees om ʼn laser bundel te maak wat afgestem is op die toepassing - sogenaamde intra-resonator bundel vorming. Die hoofdoel van intra-resonator bundel vorming is om resonators te ontwerp wat direk as uitset kan lewer wat die gewenste fase en intensiteits-distribusie vertoon. Vorming van die bundel in die resonator is voordeliger omdat die vorming buite die resonator tot addisionele verliese asook verstellings probleme bydra. Meer elemente word benodig buite die resonator wat bydra tot hoër koste en groter sisteme. In hierdie tesis word nuwe fase en amplitude intra-resonator bundelvormings metodes voorgestel. Om hierdie metode te demonstreer word analitiese en numeriese analises vir verskillende resonator sisteme wat aangepaste fase en intensiteit distribusies produseer, bespreek. In die inleiding van die tesis word ʼn detailleer oorsig oor die sleutel konsepte van optiese resonators voorgelê. In hoofstuk 2 word die bekende integraal iterasie algoritme vir intraresonator veld simulasie, naamlik die Fox-Li algoritme, en ʼn nuwe metode (matriks metode), wat gebaseer is op die Fox-Li algoritme, en die berekeningstyd van beide die Fox-Li algoritme en enige ander integraal iterasie algoritme verminder. Die metode kan gebruik word om enige klas van integraal iterasie algoritmes wat dieselfde berekenings integrale het, met veranderde integrante (waar die integrand die veld van die lig golf is in die geval van die Fox-Li algoritme, IFTA, en die skerm metode. Die voorgestelde metode verminder die berekeningstyd aansienlik, en is benaderd die van ʼn enkel iterasie berekening. In hoofstuk 3 word ʼn nuwe benadering om die modellering van die ruimtelike intensiteitsprofiel van Porro prisma resonators, gebaseer op roterende verliese skerms om die apeks-verliese van die prismas te benader, voorgestel. ʼn Numeriese model gebaseer op hierdie benadering wat die uitset van die transversale veld distribusie in eksperimentele resonators korrek voorspel, word voorgestel. In hoofstuk 4 word ʼn tegniek vir die generering van Bessel-Gauss bundels deur die gebruik van ʼn kombinasie van amplitude en fase vorming in die resonator en ʼn geskikte amplitude filter in die Fourier vlak van ʼn konvensionele resonator konfigurasie met optiese elemente wat slegs sferiese krommings het, voorgestel. In hoofstuk 5 word die analitiese en numeriese analises van twee nuwe resonator sisteme vir die generering van sogenaamde “flat–top” bundels voorgestel. Beide benaderings lei na ʼn geslote vorm uitdrukking vir die resonator optika wat benodig word, maar verskil noemenswaardig in die ontwerptegniek. Die eerste is baseer op die terug voortplanting van plat Gaussiese bundel, en die tweede op metamorfose van Gaussiese “flat-top” bundel. Ons toon aan dat beide tegnieke goeie konvergensie het, en in die gevraagde stabiele modus lewer. In hoofstuk 6 skets ons die resonator ontwerp wat die selektering van ʼn Gaussiese modus deur diffraktiewe optiese element moontlik maak. Dit word moontlik deur die metamorfose van ’n Gaussiese bundel na ʼn “flat-top” gedurende die voortplanting van die een kant van die resonator na die ander. Deur die wins medium aan die “flat–top” kant van die bundel te plaas word dit moontlik om hoë energie te onttrek in ʼn lae verlies resonator.

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