Browsing Department of Physics by browse.metadata.advisor "Botha, Lourens R."
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- ItemFlattened Gaussian beam for laser paint removal(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2011-03) Du Preez, Neil Carl; Rohwer, Erich G.; Botha, Lourens R.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Lasers are commonly used in the industry for various applications such as laser cutting, laser drilling, lithography, medical applications, surface cleaning and a myriad of other applications. In any application of a laser the beam properties are significant. In the paint removal application discussed in this thesis, the beam properties of the laser beam can have a large impact on the efficiency of the paint removal process. The pulse energy or the average output power of the laser is normally an important parameter in laser materials processing applications. The spatial profile or intensity distribution of the beam also has an influence on the process. The propagation of the laser beam from the laser to the working point is also significant in applying the laser beam to the material. In the ideal scenario one would like to control all the parameters of the laser in terms of the output, in energy or output power, the propagation of the laser beam and the intensity distribution of the beam. The process of laser-based paint removal is no different to this. In this process a TEA CO2 laser is used for the ablation of paint from a substrate. In this application high pulse energy is required from the laser together with good beam propagation properties for delivery of the beam over a long distance. For this application the multimode beam of the TEA CO2 laser can be applied for the paint removal. The multimode beam has sufficiently high pulse energy for the paint removal process, but is not suitable for propagating over long distances through a beam path with a finite aperture. Furthermore the multimode beam does not have a uniform energy intensity distribution. It would therefore be ideal if the TEA CO2 laser could be designed with a custom beam that has a uniform intensity distribution, high pulse energy and good beam propagation. These requirements lead to the study of flattened irradiance profile laser beams. In this thesis flattened irradiance profile beams in the form of Flattened Gaussian beams are investigated. The theory of the Flattened Gaussian profile as well as the propagation of the beam is investigated. Furthermore the generation of such a beam internally to the laser resonator is studied. In succession to this a custom laser resonator was designed and implemented on the TEA CO2 laser. The resulting Flattened Gaussian Beam was characterised and applied to the application of laser paint removal. It was finally shown that the Flattened Gaussian Beam could be successfully generated and applied with equal success in the application of laser paint removal.
- ItemModelling of end-pumped Ho:YLF amplifiers(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2013-03) Collett, Oliver John Philip; Botha, Lourens R.; Esser, Daniel; Bollig, Christoph; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Science. Dept. of Physics.This work is a thesis regarding the energy scaling of end-pumped Ho:YLF amplifiers. The work includes: a brief review of laser physics and models, the development of a suitable three dimensional time resolved numerical model, a parametric study of double pass ampli ers simulated using the model, comparison between the simulation and the experimental results of a double pass ampli er system, and simulation of a high energy single pass ampli er. A three dimensional time resolved numerical model of an end-pumped ampli er was developed. A rate equation model was used to simulate the absorption and emission of light, energy transfer upconversion, and spontaneous emission within the gain medium. In the traveling wave approximation the propagation of light through the gain medium was modelled with the use of a split step method that included di raction and gain. A parametric study was performed to nd the design parameters for an end-pumped two pass ampli- er. Limited optimisation of several ampli er parameters was performed. The study focused on the optimisation of the energy per pulse through changes to the following parameters: crystal length, laser beam size, pump beam sizes, and pump wavelength. The nal design speci cations for an experimental system were for a 100 mm long 0.5 % (atm.) doped Ho:YLF gain medium, pump and seed beams with spot sizes with e ective beam sizes of 1 mm and 0.95 mm respectively and a pump wavelength of 1892 nm. The simulation predicted pulse energies above 480 mJ when seeded by a 55 mJ pulse at repetition rates of 50 Hz. The experimentally realised system with similar design parameters produced the highest reported energy, 330 mJ, from an end-pumped Ho:YLF ampli er. Comparison between the simulation and the experimental results showed signi cant deviation. The deviation was explained by the e ect of parameters not included previously in the simulation. These parameters were the power of the continuous component of the seed beam, and the energy transfer upconversion rate. Limitations and delity of the numerical model with respect to the experimental system are discussed, notably the model of the highly divergent pump beam was simplistic. Preliminary simulation results of a high energy single pass ampli er predict that energy scaling in Ho:YLF follows linearly with respect to pump power and that in the ideal case, multi-Joule operation is possible at 50 Hz with optical to optical e ciencies of 19%.
- ItemNumerical modelling of the excitation of polyatomic molecules by femtosecond laser beams(Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2011-03) De Clercq, Ludwig Erasmus; Botha, Lourens R.; Rohwer, Erich G.; University of Stellenbosch. Faculty of Science. Dept. of Physics.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The selective excitation of an arbitrary vibrational level of a polyatomic molecule, without passage through an intermediary electronic excited state is demonstrated. This was achieved by simulating the interaction of a shaped, femtosecond pulse with one vibrational mode of the molecule. The carrier frequency of the pulse is chosen near resonant to the ground-to- rst-excited vibrational transition of the mode, and the pulse shape is optimized via closed-loop feedback. The simulation concentrates on the rst few vibrationally excited states since the density of states is still low, thus ensuring that the inter-vibrational decoherence time is relatively long compared to the pulse length. While various molecules were investigated this study focuses onUF6 for which detailed spectroscopic data for the v3 vibrational mode is available in literature. A multilevel model was developed and can be adapted for any number of levels. The model reported here was limited to a vibrational quantum number of four. The spectroscopic data included anharmonic splitting as well as forbidden transitions. The effect of rotational levels was not included. A density matrix approach was followed because this will allow for the introduction of dephasing of the coherent excitation via thermalizing collisions with the reservoir, as well as inter-vibrational relaxation. The time evolution of the density matrix is given by the Von Neumann equations.
- ItemTime domain pulse shaping using a genetic algorithm(Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2010-03) Mori, Andrew; Rohwer, Erich G.; Botha, Lourens R.; University of Stellenbosch. Faculty of Science. Dept. of Physics.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Through the use of complex Laser Pulse Shaping, numerous fundamental laser induced processes may be controlled as well as studied. This work serves as an introduction into Laser Pulse Shaping, with the focus on a simple Pulse Shaping experiment, as well as to determine whether future, more complex processes may be similarly controlled. A description of Laser Pulse Shaping theory is presented here, along with a full explanation of a simple experiment to maximize second harmonic generation (SHG) through Pulse Shaping. This experiment is simple on a theoretical level yet complicated in both implementation as well as operation. The experimental setup and software integration required hardware compatibility in multiple programming languages. This work was successful in the sense that a fully automated dispersion compensation system, accomplished through the use of a genetic algorithm in a feedback controlled loop, was constructed and tested. The success of this experiment and the understanding gained in this work has laid the foundation for further complex Pulse Shaping systems to be achieved in future.