Technology Gives Fiber Lasers Ten Times More Power and High Beam Quality

A Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) team of six physicists has developed a new technology to improve high-power fiber lasers. Their technology, called Efficient Mode-Converters for High-Power Fiber Amplifiers, allows the power of fiber lasers to be increased while maintaining high beam quality. Currently, fiber lasers can produce tens of kilowatts of power. The conventional fiber laser design features a circular core and has fundamental limitations that make it impractical to allow higher laser power unless the core area is increased. LLNL researchers have introduced a design to increase the laser's core area along the axis of the ribbon fiber. The design makes it difficult to use a conventional laser beam, so the LLNL team converted the beam into a profile that propagates into the ribbon fiber and is converted back once it is amplified. The use of this new technology will permit the construction of higher power lasers for lower costs and increase the power of fiber lasers from tens of kilowatts of power to about 100 kilowatts and higher.