High-Power Solid-State Lasers: a Laser Glass Perspective




Advances in laser glass compositions and manufacturing have enabled a new class of high-energy/high-power (HEHP), petawatt (PW), and high average power (HAP) laser systems that are being used for fusion energy ignition demonstration, fundamental physics research, and materials processing, respectively. The requirements for these three laser systems are different, necessitating different glasses or groups of glasses. The manufacturing technology is now mature for melting, annealing, fabricating, and finishing of laser glasses for all three applications. The laser glass properties of major importance for HEHP, PW, and HAP applications are briefly reviewed and the compositions and properties of the most widely used commercial laser glasses are summarized. Proposed advances in these three laser systems will require new glasses and new melting methods, which are briefly discussed. The challenges presented by these laser systems will likely dominate the field of laser glass development over the next several decades.