Osram Hits Efficiency Milestone With 808nm Lasers
Osram Opto Semiconductors says that it has developed laser bars with an electro-optical conversion efficiency of 64% in its laboratories.
The bars are prototype versions of a new generation of diode lasers that the German chipmaker expects to see commercialized two years from now.
In the laboratory demonstration, the 808 nm lasers, which are based on GaAs substrate material, delivered an output power of 120 W.
The company's current generation of diode lasers produce half that power with a conversion efficiency of 55%. Part of the improvement is attributed to advances in epitaxial structures.
The lasers are being developed in collaboration with Dilas, a fellow German company that has developed an active water cooling system. The two firms are working under a research project initiated by the German government. Its key target is the production of 110 W sources with a lifetime in excess of 20,000 hours in continuous-wave or long-pulse operating mode.
Once the laser bars are commercialized, they will be used to optically-pump solid-state lasers for industrial applications such as laser welding of metal parts used in automotive manufacturing.
"With the new, more powerful lasers, not only can the system output be increased, but the systems can be made smaller and more reliable for the equivalent output," said Osram in a statement.
Industrial use of semiconductor lasers diodes is being targeted by many chip-manufacturing companies that are looking to expand their applications base. Two examples from the fiber-optic components business include JDSU and Bookham, and a collection of US companies is working towards tough efficiency and output power targets set out by DARPA.
Both companies are keen to exploit the impressive reliability of laser chips developed for telecoms applications in the industrial arena (see related stories).