Date of Award

Spring 2008

Document Type



Mathematics, Engineering & Computer Science


This paper details the design and alignment of a specialized mirror that is to be used in the focusing system of a high-powered Ytterbium-Yttrium Aluminum Garnet (Yb-YAG) laser system. The laser system will be used in conducting research into soft x-ray laser systems specifically using traveling wave excitation to achieve higher levels of soft x-ray amplification. The mirror is a small part of large system that is being designed to study the uses of soft x-rays for imaging systems. The system is essentially a high-powered microscope that will be able to image particles on the nanometer scale. The system also explores the uses of plasma as a gain medium for soft x-ray photons. First it is important to understand what a laser is and some of the fundamentals of laser operation. This material will be covered briefly in Chapter 1 so that the reader will have some understanding of basic laser operation. We will then cover the step mirror system design and alignment and the role that it plays in the larger laser system in Chapter 2. In Chapter 3, we will focus on the role of non-linear optics and its uses in the alignment procedure detailed in Chapter 2. The non-linear properties of the doubling crystal are critical in the alignment processes of the step mirror.