Two major volume Bragg grating (VBG) applications will be presented and in particular laser beam combining and holographically encoded phase masks. Laser beam combining is an approach where multiple lasers are combined to produce more power. Spectral beam combining is a technique in which different wavelengths are superimposed spatially (combined) using a dispersive element such as a volume Bragg grating. To reduce the complexity of such combining system instead of multiple individual VBGs, it will be demonstrated that a single holographic element with multiple VBGs recorded inside could be used for the same purpose. Similar multiplex volume holographic elements could be used for coherent beam combining. In this case, the gratings operate at the same wavelength and have degenerate output. Such coherent combining using gratings written in photothermo-refractive (PTR) glass will be discussed. The chapter also demonstrates that binary phase profiles may be encoded into volume Bragg gratings, and that for any probe beam capable of satisfying the Bragg condition of the hologram, this phase profile will be present in the diffracted beam. A multiplexed set of these holographic phase masks (HPMs) can simultaneously combine beams while also performing mode conversion. An approach for making HPMs fully achromatic by combining them with a pair of surface gratings will be outlined.
Part of the book: Holographic Materials and Optical Systems