AuthorRoberts, William Thomas
AdvisorAngel, James Roger Prior
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractExploitation of the imaging capabilities of the new generation of ground-based astronomical telescopes relies heavily on Adaptive Optics (AO). Current AO system designs call for sodium guide star lasers capable of producing at least eight Watts of power tuned to the peak of the sodium D₂ line, with a high duty cycle to avoid saturation, and with 0.5-1.0 GHz spectral broadening. This work comprises development and testing of six candidate laser systems and materials which may afford a path to achieving these goals. An end-pumped CW dye laser producing 4.0 Watts of tuned output power was developed and used to obtain the first accurate measurement of sodium layer scattering efficiency. Methods of optimizing the laser output through improving pump overlap efficiency and reducing the number of intracavity scattering surfaces are covered. The 1181 nm fluorescence peak of Mn⁵⁺ ion in Ba₅(PO₄)₃Cl could be tuned and doubled to reach 589 nm. While efforts to grow this crystal were under way, the Mn⁵⁺ ion in natural apatite (Ca₅(PO₄)₃F) was studied as a potential laser material. Fluorescence saturation measurements and transmission saturation are presented, as well as efforts to obtain CW lasing in natural apatite. A Q-switched laser color-center laser in LiF : F⁻₂ was developed and successfully tuned and doubled to the sodium D₂ line. Broad-band lasing of 80 mW and tuned narrow-band lasing of 35 mW at 1178 nm were obtained with 275 mW of input pump power at 1064 nm. The measured thermal properties of this material indicate its potential for scaling to much higher power. A Q-switched intracavity Raman laser was developed in which CaWO₄ was used to shift a Nd:YAG laser, the frequency-doubled output of which was centered at 589.3 nm. To obtain light at 589.0 nm, a compositionally tuned pump laser of Nd : Y₃Ga₁.₁Al₃.₉O₁₂ was produced which generated the desired shift, but was inhomogeneous broadened, limiting the tunable power of the material. Finally, temperature tuning of a Nd:YAG laser was demonstrated in which the laser emitted up to 8.6 Watts at a temperature of -21.5 C, bringing the wavelength into a regime favorable for efficient Raman shifting by CaWO₄.
Degree ProgramGraduate College