The most challenging element in terms of cooling the laser array system would be the small optical instruments in front of the primary mirror. This would be addressed with conventional cooling systems and possibly by cooling the beam director assemblies (lens assemblies).
The Alpha Centauri mission would require a 100GW-scale laser array. Traditional lasers are currently approaching 50% efficiency ratings. It seems likely that they will continue to improve in cost, power density and efficiency. Even given these improvements, it will be necessary to cool several tens of gigawatts for the laser and the beam director. However, since the lasers are distributed over the kilometer-scale array, this level of cooling is considered achievable.
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- Paschotta, R., "Thermal Lensing", Encyclopedia of Laser Physics & Technology, 2007
- Kozlowska, A. et al. "A Novel Micro-Channel Cooler for High-Power Diode Laser Arrays", Photonics Lett. of Poland, Vol. 6, 23-25 (2014)
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