Fiber-optic transmission of Q-switched ruby laser pulses is limited by fiber damage owing to the high laser-beam intensities. Pulse stretching with a semiconductor-based control circuit for the Pockels cell of the ruby laser to reduce the peak intensities is described. Pulses with durations from 200 ns to 1 μs and a coherence length of ~3 m were generated. These pulses were coupled into multimode optical fibers to investigate the transmission characteristics and the limits of transmittable pulse energies. Stretched pulses can be transmitted in quartz fibers with a 600-μm core diameter to pulse energies of 300 mJ, which is an increase by a factor of 4 compared with standard Q-switched pulses. It is expected that beam guiding of ruby laser pulses by fiber optics will significantly facilitate the use of holographic interferometry in technical applications such as vibration analysis.
© 1996 Optical Society of America
S. Pflüger, M. Sellhorst, V. Sturm, and R. Noll, "Fiber-optic transmission of stretched pulses from a Q-switched ruby laser," Appl. Opt. 35, 5165-5169 (1996)