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The Transparent Laser

Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta

One of the most difficult aspects of laser development is that experimental tests can normally only reveal the performance of a laser device – things like output power, beam quality and pulse properties – but not what goes on inside the device. The latter, however, must be understood for fixing problems and optimizing the performance.

Therefore, it would obviously be marvelous if one had a “transparent laser” where you can simply look inside to see what happens inside: you could see how exactly quantities like optical intensities and excitation densities are at any point within the device (e.g., in a laser crystal or active fiber), and how exactly they evolve over time.

Everyone would agree that this would be marvelous, but many are not aware that such a transparent laser can actually be made – in the form of a computer model, which simulates the relevant internal processes, calculates the resulting laser performance from them and can finally present all details e.g. in the form of graphical diagrams – notably not only concerning performance, but also all internal details.

It is fairly easy to realize that an industrial laser developer or a laser scientist can work far more efficiently (i.e., save time and money) when having such a powerful tool. It is somewhat less obvious, however, how exactly such a tool can be used in practice and which steps can be taken to obtain it. Therefore, I have worked out a detailed presentation, which is now available in the form of a video but also (for quick readers) in other formats. You can find all that on the following new web page:

This article is a posting of the RP Photonics Software News, authored by Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta. You may link to this page, because its location is permanent.

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