Osram Opto Semiconductors has announced that it is coordinating a three-year project to improve high-brilliance infrared laser systems performance and to reduce production costs.
Fig 1: Prototype of a high-power laser bar.
The IMOTHEB (Integrated Micro-Optical and microTHhermal Elements for diode lasers of high Brilliance) project, part of the “Integrated Microphotonics” Initiative, runs from Oct. 1, 2012, to Sept. 30, 2015, and is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research. Project partners include Dilas Diode Laser and the Max Born Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy, a nonprofit research organization.
Fig 1 : Prototype of a high-power laser bar, as developed by Osram Opto Semiconductors in the IMOTHEB project.
Diode-pumped high-power laser systems for materials processing applications such as cutting and welding are playing an increasingly important role in industry. Their advantages over carbon dioxide lasers and lasers pumped with flashlamps include lower operating costs, greater efficiency and smaller size. Fiber lasers and fiber-coupled diode lasers have become more important for optical materials processing.
As these lasers become more widespread, the focus is shifting to the issue of cost. Developments that increase the performance of laser systems, and at the same time reduce production costs, are necessary to move this market forward. Infrared semiconductor laser diodes that can be used to pump fiber lasers are key components in this area. They offer enormous potential for automating production and miniaturizing the systems while reducing the number of semiconductor chips needed.
The project’s objective is to investigate new approaches and technologies that could lead to significant reductions in the cost of pump modules, including the semiconductor lasers, and the cooling elements, optics and sensors. Plans to increase semiconductor laser output by 40 percent while retaining the same high beam quality are also in the works.
IMOTHEB maps the entire value-added chain from the semiconductor chip to the complete laser system. The project partners bring their own specific areas of expertise:
Osram Opto Semiconductors is coordinating the project and offering its know-how in semiconductors, laser diodes and laser bars; simulations are being subcontracted to the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering.
Dilas is responsible for the assembly technology with improved thermal resistance and higher integration in laser modules, as well as for automation in module production.
The Max Born Institute is acting as a scientific partner, analyzing and characterizing the chips and modules.
Osram has set the goal of achieving a higher degree of integration at the semiconductor level, increasing the brilliance of infrared laser diodes by integrating micro-optical and microthermal elements directly on the chip. Over the course of the project, the target is to increase output by 40 percent, which will make laser chips suitable for fiber laser pump modules and for fiber-coupled diode lasers.
“We need results that bring not only technical but also economic benefits to strengthen our competitive position,” said Dr. Alexander Bachmann, project leader at Osram. “Based on results from the project, our brilliant laser diodes should provide more output into the fibers so that fewer chips are needed in the system and the laser systems therefore become more efficient and more cost-effective.”
For more information, visit: www.osram-os.com