The beam quality of a radial laser array, quantified in terms of the M2 propagation constant, is determined as a function of array element configuration. A lower bound on array M2 is estimated for both phase-locked and nonphase-locked conditions. It is shown that, to achieve near-unity M2 array, either aperture filling or spatial filtering is required in addition to phase locking. An aperture-filling method suitable for radial arrays of CO2 slab lasers is presented.
© 1998 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: December 6, 1996
Revised Manuscript: September 29, 1997
Published: February 20, 1998
James D. Strohschein, Herb J. J. Seguin, and Clarence E. Capjack, "Beam propagation constants for a radial laser array," Appl. Opt. 37, 1045-1048 (1998)