Designing a low cost passively Q-switched solid state laser transmitter

Madlala, Bigboy
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A discrete Q-switched laser that gives a side-lobed single pulse as a laser output was implemented; followed by studying energy extraction e ciencies and pulse characterisation. The aim was to help design a passively Q-switched laser that gives a smooth single pulse of optimum energy as a laser output. The smoothness feature in a single pulse is important in some applications such as range nding. The concepts are demonstrated both experimentally and numerically; the latter using Fox-Li approach to modeling resonator modes with the Fresnel's integral for the system under study. In the rst two chapters, fundamentals of how a laser works and the spatial mode development are studied. In chapter 1, the principles of a laser are discussed: absorption, spontaneous and stimulated emission. Also, di erent types of pumping sources and resonator con gurations that can be used are discussed. In chapter 2, the focus is on developing spatial modes of a laser. The fundamental and high order modes are discussed together with their propagation laws. Then a numerical method is used to nd the eigenmodes of an arbitrary resonator con guration. This numerical method is used to simulate propagation of a fundamental mode and the simulation results are compared to analytical propagation laws. Then, this numerical method is used to simulate a laser resonator. The eigenmode of the lowest loss in the resonator was found. In chapters 3 and 4, experimental work is done on a Q-switched laser where the focus is on the overall laser performance. In chapter 3, Q-switched laser output energies are studied for di erent combinations of Q-switch transmission values and output coupler re ectivities. In addition, the in uence of spatial modes on a Q-switched pulse shape and pulse width are studied, taking into account beam divergence. In chapter 4, conclusions and future work are presented. In future work, the knowledge of spatial mode in uence on pulse shape, pulse width and beam divergence from chapter 3 is exploited. Then particular resonator con guration that gives optimised output results (Q-switched laser output energy, beam divergence, pulse shape and pulse width) is chosen. On that particular resonator, di erent Q-switch transmission values are studied, but now looking only at beam divergence and pulse width. Also, some suggestions on further improving laser performance are given.
A dissertation submitted to the Faculty Of Science in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science by research only in the School of Physics, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. July 11, 2017.
Madlala, Bigboy (2017) Designing a low cost passively Q-switched solid state laser transmitter, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <>