Miguel Catela

PhD Student (SFRH/BD/145322/2019)
PhD Programme: Physics Engineering
Thematic Line: Laser Technology

242 - Ed. I


Research Areas


PhD Project: Advancements in Nd:YAG solar laser stability under solar tracking error conditions


Conventional solar-pumped lasers rely on expensive and highly accurate solar tracking systems, which present a significant economic barrier to both solar laser research and practical applications. To address this challenge, an end-side-pumped four-rod solar laser head was designed and built for testing at PROMES-CNRS. Solar radiation was collected and concentrated using a heliostat-parabolic mirror system. A fused silica aspheric lens further concentrated the solar rays into a flux homogenizer within which four Nd:YAG rods were symmetrically positioned around a reflective cone and cooled by water. Four partially reflective mirrors were precisely aligned to extract continuous-wave 1064 nm solar laser power from each laser rod. The prototype demonstrated stable multibeam solar laser operation with the solar tracking system turned on. Even when the tracking system was turned off, the total output power extracted from the solar-pumped laser remained stable for 1 min, representing, to the best of our knowledge, the first successful demonstration of stable multibeam solar laser operation without solar tracking. For typical solar tracking errors up to ±0.5°, the loss in the total solar laser power produced was only about 1%, representing an 8.0-fold improvement over the previous solar laser experiments under tracking error conditions.