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Appl Opt. 2004 Sep 20;43(27):5236-42.

Efficient, reliable, long-lifetime, diode-pumped Nd:YAG laser for space-based vegetation topographical altimetry.

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National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 920, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771, USA.


A highly efficient, diode-pumped, Nd:YAG laser is described. The oscillator utilizes an unstable resonator design with a Gaussian reflectivity output coupler and a side-pumped zigzag slab gain medium. The laser produces 18-mJ, 10-ns pulses at a repetition rate of 242 Hz in a near-TEM00 mode with an optical efficiency of up to 14%. An extended performance test was recently concluded in which the transmitter operated at reduced output for more than 4.8 x 10(9) shots with no optical damage. Design criteria, beam quality, and lifetime data are presented.

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