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Ricoh Develops High-Power VCSEL Module

For use in laser ignition, laser processing machines, and sensing applications

Ricoh has announced that it has developed a high-power 808nm fibre coupled VCSEL module that can also be used in applications such as engine ignition.

The standalone output of the VCSEL array is 310W, and with the fibre output,  200W.

The module incorporates three technological advances: high output performance, compact size and wavelength stability in variable temperatures. 

With this latest development, Ricoh has increased the luminescence efficiency of the VCSEL elements. It has also achieved large-scale integration of the light-emitting channels and together they significantly boost the output power of the laser array.

Furthermore, by improving the heat dissipation of the overall module, it is now capable of delivering the high energy output needed by the light source of the laser crystal in a laser ignition plug head. This type of plug head has been attracting attention as a means of igniting gas engines for power generation used in cogeneration systems and other equipment (Quasi-continuous-wave (QCW) operation: 200W). 

This development has received partial assistance under the Program for Strategic Innovative Energy Saving Technology run by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO).

The VCSEL module uses a VCSEL array with a large number of light-emitting channels on its surface, along with a micro lens array (MLA) that integrates lenses corresponding to each light-emitting channel on a single chip. As a result, the VCSEL module is more compact as it has fewer components when compared with modules using conventional edge-emitting type lasers, according to the company.

Due to its structure, the VCSEL is said to feature exceptional wavelength stability in variable temperatures, offering around ten times the thermal stability in wavelength compared with conventional edge-emitting type lasers.

In solid-state laser excitation used in applications such as the laser crystals of laser ignition plug heads, the wavelength stability of the excitation light is vital to achieving stable output. With wavelength stability, a precision temperature control unit is not required, allowing a significant reduction in size of the VCSEL module.

Ricoh is also looking to expand into applications such as laser processing machines, surface treatment processing such as laser patterning, non-thermal processing and sensing, as well as the development of other applications.

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