Beam combining of lasers with high spectral density using volume Bragg gratings

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Incoherent combining of multiple laser beams with offset wavelengths into a single near-diffraction-limited beam is an effective solution to increasing energy brightness and scaling output power of high-power lasers. Volume Bragg gratings (VBGs) recorded in photo-thermo-refractive (PTR) glass allow spectral beam combining with a remarkably high spectral density of channels. Spectral beam combining (SBC) of five channels within 1-2 nm bandwidth around 1064 and 1550 nm into a single near-diffraction-limited beam with absolute efficiency 92-94% is demonstrated. Scaling of this technique to multi-kW power level is discussed. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.