Spectrally Stabilized Semiconductor Lasers Enable Next Generation DPSS Lasers

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Narrowed spectrum and temperature insensitivity make DPSS lasers more robust and efficient.

The quest for higher laser system efficiency and insensitivity to operating environments is driving an industry trend toward upper-state laser pumping. While most commonly pumped at the 808nm absorption line, Nd:YAG and Nd:YVO4 can also be pumped around 88xnm, resulting in a lower quantum defect (lower waste heat) and reduced thermal-lensing of the laser gain media. The absorption lines near 88xnm are much narrower than at 808nm, thus requiring a semiconductor laser pump with a spectral width substantially narrower than the 3nm industry standard.

nLIGHT has demonstrated the ability to spectrally lock semiconductor laser bars and single-emitters, which enable applications like upper-state DPSS laser pumping and rubidium pumping. Up to 7-bar stacks have been spectrally locked and are being utilized by DPSS laser manufacturers developing their next generation products. Additionally, nLIGHT has wavelength stabilized its Pearlâ„¢ Fiber-Coupled Module to provide spectrally narrow high-brightness fiber-coupled pump sources. Free-running, the spectral width is typically 2.5nm FWHM, while locked the spectral width decreases to less than 1.0nm FWHM.

Just as significant as the decrease in spectral width is the ability to reduce temperature sensitivity of the semiconductor laser, and thus the complexity and cost of system temperature control. With spectral stabilization, the semiconductor lasers remain spectrally locked over a 10ºC operating temperature range. "Locked laser performance over a wide temperature range is of paramount importance to equipment manufacturers," commented Chris Ebert, nLIGHT Product Line Manager. "System manufacturers find the opportunity to reduce their system level environmental tolerances highly desirable, which directly leads to more robust and cost-effective system designs."

About nLIGHT
nLIGHT is driving new application utilization of high-power semiconductor lasers and fiber through industry-leading innovation and best-practice manufacturing. Optimizing components and sub-systems for OEM integration produces differentiated advantages for our customers in their market space. Global support is offered through state-of-the-art manufacturing and application centers in Vancouver, WA; Hillsboro, OR; Munich, Germany; Lohja, Finland and Shanghai, China. nLIGHT is growing rapidly and was named the fastest-growing technology company in the Northwest by Deloitte and Touche in 2007. http://www.nLIGHT.net

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Roni Zeggert
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