Prospects and challenges for all-optical thermal management of fiber lasers

John Ballato, Peter D. Dragic, Michel J.F. Digonnet

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


It is hard to overstate the utility of lasers in modern technology. Optical-fiber-based lasers are of particular value thanks to their combination of small form factors, afforded by the coilability of the thin strands of fiber, and high beam-quality output. The optical fiber geometry also possesses a relatively high surface-area-to-volume ratio, rendering thermal management somewhat more straightforward than in other bulk laser types. Regardless, the generation of heat during the lasing process can still be problematic for a myriad of reasons, and conventional methods of thermal management do not comport with the potential compactness and elegance of fiber lasers as technological solutions. This Perspective summarizes recent advances in glass science and optical fiber engineering to support the provocative premise that heat generation in future laser systems can be entirely managed by a combination of fiber materials and novel laser physics. Letting the fiber manage heat itself would have significant impacts on enhancing system performance while greatly reducing size, weight, power-consumption, and cost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number162001
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Issue number16
StatePublished - Apr 19 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • fiber amplifiers
  • fiber lasers
  • glass
  • laser cooling
  • optical fiber
  • thermal management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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