High Power Laser Beam Control

Solid State Laser Unit

Solid State Laser Unit

Conventional DM Thermal Gradient

Conventional DM Thermal Gradient

Adaptive optics (AO) has a crucial role in high power laser development within the cavity of the device itself. Many modern High Energy laser (HEL) designs use exotic cavity geometries and/or gain mediums that are sensitive to heat, vibration, and other environmental stresses. AO is necessary to adjust the wavefront inside the cavity to ensure that the oscillating mode is tuned for maximum efficiency.

From a component perspective, our deformable mirrors (DMs) are uniquely designed for HEL integration. Conventional deformable mirrors have insufficient thermal mass in the facesheet to handle flux loading and runtime requirements. Our thermally managed designs solve these problems with the capability to rapidly dissipate localized hot spots. We use materials with high thermal conductivity to minimize temperature gradients, thermal distortion, and the probability of thermally induced coating failures. It is important to note that the thermal distortion induced by coincident power on the DM needs to be evaluated to ensure that the DM has the capability to correct its own thermal error and all other expected system aberrations.

We supported Northrop Grumman’s successful 100 kW Joint High Power Solid State Laser (JHPSSL) development contract with responsibility for beam quality control in the cavity. The program successfully achieved 100 kW operation by coherently combining multiple lower power beams.

Chain of SSL Units

Chain of SSL Units

NG JHPSSL Package

NG JHPSSL Package