High average power lasers are being developed for various applications from cutting and welding to laser communications and radar. The average power requirements for solid state lasers used in these applications span the 100–1000-W range with peak power requirements approaching a gigawatt. The beam quality requirements span an equally large range, from 100X to near diffraction limited, with wavelengths from the near IR to the UV. The great potential of solid state lasers is that high average power and good beam quality are possible with the flexibility to operate at many desirable wavelengths.

© 1989 Optical Society of America

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