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Proceedings Paper

Survivability demonstration and characterization of a multibillion-shot Q-switched Nd:YAG laser
Author(s): Joseph Louis Dallas; M. A. Stephen; Robert S. Afzal
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Paper Abstract

As part of NASA's suite of Earth Observing Satellites, Goddard Space Flight Center is developing a laser altimeter for measuring the polar ice sheet mass balance. The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) requires a diode pumped, Q-switched, Nd:YAG laser transmitter producing 150 mJ, 4 ns pulses at a 40 Hz repetition rate in a single transverse mode. The mission lifetime goal is five years (6.3 billion shots). The projected performance of the GLAS laser can be limited by a number of failure sources including optical damage to the components and degradation of the pump laser diodes. To the authors' knowledge, no data exists describing the multi-billion shot accumulative exposure effect Q-switched, 4 ns pulses have on intracavity optical components. To obtain multi-billion shot results in a reasonable time, an accelerated repetition rate (500 Hz) version of the GLAS oscillator was built with modifications for thermal management. An Accelerated GLAS Exposure System (AGES) was developed to autonomously monitor the laser's vital signs. Upon analysis of the stored data, the system dynamics were decoupled to identify the sources of degradation. Over 7 billion shots were accumulated during AGES' non-stop 5.5 month operation.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 May 1996
PDF: 4 pages
Proc. SPIE 2714, 27th Annual Boulder Damage Symposium: Laser-Induced Damage in Optical Materials: 1995, (27 May 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.240363
Show Author Affiliations
Joseph Louis Dallas, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
M. A. Stephen, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Robert S. Afzal, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2714:
27th Annual Boulder Damage Symposium: Laser-Induced Damage in Optical Materials: 1995
Harold E. Bennett; Arthur H. Guenther; Mark R. Kozlowski; Brian Emerson Newnam; M. J. Soileau, Editor(s)

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