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Appl Opt. 2014 Aug 1;53(22):4881-5. doi: 10.1364/AO.53.004881.

Coherent beam combining using a 2D internally sensed optical phased array.


Coherent combination of multiple lasers using an optical phased array (OPA) is an effective way to scale optical intensity in the far field beyond the capabilities of single fiber lasers. Using an actively phase locked, internally sensed, 2D OPA we demonstrate over 95% fringe visibility of the interfered beam, λ/120 RMS output phase stability over a 5 Hz bandwidth, and quadratic scaling of intensity in the far field using three emitters. This paper presents a new internally sensed OPA architecture that employs a modified version of digitally enhanced heterodyne interferometry (DEHI) based on code division multiplexing to measure and control the phase of each emitter. This internally sensed architecture can be implemented with no freespace components, offering improved robustness to shock and vibration exhibited by all-fiber devices. To demonstrate the concept, a single laser is split into three channels/emitters, each independently controlled using separate electro-optic modulators. The output phase of each channel is measured using DEHI to sense the small fraction of light that is reflected back into the fiber at the OPA's glass-air interface. The relative phase between emitters is used to derive the control signals needed to stabilize their relative path lengths and maintain coherent combination in the far field.


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