Northrop Grumman is developing single-frequency fiber amplifiers for the new Revolution in Fiber Lasers (RIFL) program by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
The RIFL program takes a similar approach to maturing fiber laser technology as Northrop Grumman demonstrated for solid-state lasers through support from U.S. military services and government agencies -- by designing the building blocks needed to combine laser beams that can be scaled to a weapons-class power level while maintaining good beam quality.
Fiber lasers are 1.5 to 2 times more efficient than solid-state lasers, delivering more laser power per weight and volume. High beam quality and efficiency make fiber laser technology, intrinsically, ideal to pursue in parallel with solid-state lasers, the company noted.
The company has previously scaled narrow band fiber lasers to powers of 400 W by combining multiple fiber amplifiers with a near perfect beam quality of 1.1. Key goals of the DARPA contract are demonstration of single frequency fiber amplifiers at 1kW in the 15-month first phase and 3kW at the end of the 18-month second phase.