In this paper, a compact master-oscillator power-amplifier laser system incorporating telescopic beam expansion in a high-gain double-pass amplifier is presented. A miniature (0.5 W) master-oscillator copper vapor laser is used to efficiently extract over 37 W of high-beam-quality (full transverse coherence) output power from a kinetically enhanced nominally 35-W copper vapor laser at 12-kHz pulse repetition frequency. By configuring the oscillator for low coherence output and using a multimode optical fiber between the oscillator and the double-pass amplifier, a high-power (34 W) low-divergence output beam having a well-defined flat-top far-field beam profile was also produced. The flat-top farfield beam profile arises from control of the spatial coherence of a flat-top near-field beam, rather than the usual techniques for producing flattened Gaussian beams from coherent Gaussian beams. Use of the flat-top focused beam for high-speed percussion drilling of high quality 100-μm diameter holes in metals was demonstrated, as well as high-power (34-W average power, 80-kW peak power) damage-free power transmission through 100-μm core diameter step-index optical fibers.
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