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Solar Pumped Solid State Lasers for Space Solar Power: Experimental PathWe outline an experimentally based strategy designed to lead to solar pumped solid state laser oscillators useful for space solar power. Our method involves solar pumping a novel solid state gain element specifically designed to provide efficient conversion of sunlight in space to coherent laser light. Kilowatt and higher average power is sought from each gain element. Multiple such modular gain elements can be used to accumulate total average power of interest for power beaming in space, e.g., 100 kilowatts and more. Where desirable the high average power can also be produced as a train of pulses having high peak power (e.g., greater than 10(exp 10 watts). The modular nature of the basic gain element supports an experimental strategy in which the core technology can be validated by experiments on a single gain element. We propose to do this experimental validation both in terrestrial locations and also on a smaller scale in space. We describe a terrestrial experiment that includes diagnostics and the option of locating the laser beam path in vacuum environment. We describe a space based experiment designed to be compatible with the Japanese Experimental Module (JEM) on the International Space Station (ISS). We anticipate the gain elements will be based on low temperature (approx. 100 degrees Kelvin) operation of high thermal conductivity (k approx. 100 W/cm-K) diamond and sapphire (k approx. 4 W/cm-K). The basic gain element will be formed by sequences of thin alternating layers of diamond and Ti:sapphire with special attention given to the material interfaces. We anticipate this strategy will lead to a particularly simple, robust, and easily maintained low mass modelocked multi-element laser oscillator useful for space solar power.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Marshall Space Flight Center
Document Type
Fork, Richard L.
(Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Carrington, Connie K.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Walker, Wesley W.
(Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Cole, Spencer T.
(Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Green, Jason J. A.
(Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Laycock, Rustin L.
(Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2003
Subject Category
Lasers And Masers
Meeting Information
Meeting: International Astronautical Congress
Location: Bremen
Country: Germany
Start Date: October 2, 2003
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