Redefining power laser diodes

CA-based Quintessence Photonics Corporation has successfully manufactured a two dimensional monolithic high power array of laser diodes that emit light from the surface of the semiconductor wafer in which they were fabricated.

Optically pumped solid-state lasers, such as those built from Neodymium-doped YAG, are used for a wide range of industrial, medical and military uses. And, while it’s much more efficient to pump them with laser diode arrays, rather than flash lamps, conventional laser diodes arrays have traditionally been laborious and expensive to fabricate and package.

QPC’s claims that its new new laser diode array design reduces these costs and improves the operating lifetime of the diodes by an order-of-magnitude over the older technology.

Conventional arrays are assembled by stacking a large number of individual laser bars. In contrast, QPC diode arrays are fully monolithic, resulting in simpler manufacture and test. QPC has also developed a facet hardening technique that significantly increases the power handling capacity and dramatically reduces the incidence of optical facet failures – a leading cause of early failure.

Recently QPC demonstrated that it had successfully built such an array using 75 surface emitting laser diodes arranged in three rows of 25 with a power output that exceeded 100W per square centimetre. The company claims that it can scale the process further to deliver a power output over 1000W per square centimetre.

“This “surface emission” of high power optical radiation will allow miniaturisation and cost reduction of laser diode components used in numerous industrial and medical tools,” said Jeffrey Ungar, Chairman of the Board and President of Quintessence Photonics Corporation.