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Robust, Efficient, Optical-Damage-Resistant, 200 mJ Nanosecond Ultraviolet Light Source for Satellite-Based Lidar Applications

  • Darrell J. Armstrong (a1) and Arlee V. Smith (a1)

Abstract

Conventional wisdom contends that high-energy nanosecond UV laser sources operate near the optical damage thresholds of their constituent materials. This notion is particularly true for nonlinear frequency converters like optical parametric oscillators, where poor beam quality combined with high intra-cavity fluence leads to catastrophic failure of crystals and optical coatings. The collective disappointment of many researchers supports this contention. However, we're challenging this frustrating paradigm by developing high-energy nanosecondUVsources that are efficient, mechanically robust, and most important, resistant to optical damage. Based on sound design principles developed through numerical modeling and rigorous laboratory testing, our sources generate 8-10 ns 190 mJ pulses at 320 nm with fluences≤ 1 J/cm2. Using the second harmonic of a Q-switched, injection-seeded Nd:YAGlaser as the pump source, we convert the near-IR Nd:YAG fundamental to UV with optical-to-optical efficiency exceeding 21%.

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1 Fix, A. and Ehret, G. Appl. Phys. B67, 331 (1998).
2 Tiihonen, M. Pasiskevicius, V. Laurell, F. Jonsson, P. and Lindgren, M. in Solid State Lasers XIII: Technology and Devices, edited by Scheps, R. and Hoffman, H. J. (SPIE Proc. 5332, San Jose, CA, 2004) pp. 134–C142.
3 Smith, A. V. and Armstrong, D. J. J. Opt Soc. Am. B 19, 1801 (2002).
4 He, Y. and Orr, B. J. presented at CLEO/QELS 2003, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, 2003.
5 Armstrong, D. J. and Smith, A. V. in Laser Beam Shaping V, edited by Dickey, F. M. Shealy, D. L. and Sasiáan, J. M., (SPIE Proc. 5525, Denver, CO, 2004) pp. 8897.
6 Armstrong, D. J. and Smith, A. V. in Lidar Remote Sensing for Environment Monitroing V, edited by Singh, U. and Mizutani, K. (Proc. SPIE 5653, Honolulu, HI, 2004).
7 Armstrong, D. J. and Smith, A. V. in Nonlinear Frequency Generation and Conversion: Materials, Devices, and Applications IV edited by Powers, P. E. (Proc. SPIE 5710, San Jose, CA, 2005).
8Approximate value for the damage theshold of β-barium borate at λ = 320 nm obtained from the SNLO-QMIX crystal data base, http://www.sandia.gov/imrl/X1118/xxtal.htm.

Robust, Efficient, Optical-Damage-Resistant, 200 mJ Nanosecond Ultraviolet Light Source for Satellite-Based Lidar Applications

  • Darrell J. Armstrong (a1) and Arlee V. Smith (a1)

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