We plan to develop a monolithic Q-switched Waveguide Laser, using ultrafast laser inscription (ULI) technology. The proposed prototype is enabled by a Q-switched operation of waveguide realized by ULI inside diffusion-bonded laser media. Owing to its flexibility, ease for integration, and three-dimension nature, ULI of waveguides in laser materials and dielectric media enables transformative lidar system architectures.
The proposed device integrates three components through direct ULI of waveguide inside two diffusion-bonded crystals as active laser media and as saturable absorber for Q-switching. The laser cavity is ended by a dichroic dielectric coating at the input and the output sides. This architecture will result in a monolithic nanosecond pulsed laser at 1064 nm leading to a low-cost, compact, and durable solution.
The waveguide structure leads to better confinement and excellent overlap between pump and laser modes over the entire length of the media. This will lead to small lasing thresholds, high slope efficiency, and high output power.
The proposed device addresses NASA’s wavelength of interest for aerosol detection. The prototype and its technological translation and implementation are interesting for alignment-free, low-cost, weight, and power requirement of small platforms and applications, overcoming the drawbacks of current microchip laser systems for lidars. In the future, this will lead to more robust integrated ULI-based lidar systems at other wavelengths from near-surface, airborne, and spaceborne platforms.
The offeror, Aktiwave LLC, is exceptionally well aligned for the technological development and commercialization of ultrafast-laser-based fabrications. Recently, the offeror demonstrated the lowest threshold and high slope efficiency ULI waveguide-based Nd:YAG continuous-wave laser at 1064 nm.
• Monitoring aerosols: climate modeling, air quality measurements, and understanding the health impacts of atmospheric pollution.
• Trace Gas Sensing: global and regional quantification of methane fluxes by potential integration with IPDA lidar.
• Spectroscopy: laser mass spectrometry to identify and characterize trace amounts of astrobiological content.
• Advanced data processing: high-performance computing based on high-speed waveguide circuitry for galactic evolution study.
The proposed device offers the solution for lidar altimetry in urban photogrammetry, ecological measurements. Other applications include bathymetric lidar, sensors for self-driving cars, optical communications, signal processing, Raman spectroscopy, Lab-On-Chip, and imaging.