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Suppression of self-focusing through low-pass spatial filtering and relay imaging

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Abstract

Self-focusing effects in large, high power laser amplifiers become manifest as small-scale beam instabilities and as large-scale phase aberrations. Spatial filtering has been shown to control instabilities; spatial filters constitute appropriate lens pair elements for image relaying as well. In this paper, image relaying is presented as a technique for preserving the transverse intensity profile of a high power beam as it propagates long distances through nonlinear elements. As a consequence, amplifier apertures can be filled more effectively, leading to a doubling of fixed-aperture system performance. A rationale for optimal selection of spatial filter bandpass is also presented. This selection, as might be expected, depends upon details of the beam's spatial structure as it enters any filter. A geometrical optics approach is used throughout; nevertheless, derived results remain valid when diffraction is included.

© 1978 Optical Society of America

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