Low-index quantum-barrier single-pass tapered semiconductor optical amplifiers for efficient coherent beam combining
The requirements for coherent combination of high power GaAs-based single-pass tapered amplifiers are studied. Changes to the epitaxial layer structure are shown to bring higher beam quality and hence improved combining efficiency for one fixed device geometry. Specifically, structures with large vertical near field and low wave-guiding from the active region show 10% higher beam quality and coherent combining efficiency than reference devices. As a result, coherent combining efficiency is shown to be limited by beam quality, being directly proportional to the power content in the central lobe across a wide range of devices with different construction. In contrast, changes to the in-plane structure did not improve beam quality or combining efficiency. Although poor beam quality does correlate with increased optical intensities near the input aperture, locating monolithically-integrated absorption regions in these areas did not lead to any performance improvement. However, large area devices with subsequently improved cooling do achieve higher output powers. Phase noise can limit coherent combining, but this is shown to be small and independent of device design. Overall, tapered amplifiers are well suited for high power coherent combining applications. © 2020 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd.