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20 December 2012

EC-funded BRIDLE project aims to boost high-power diode lasers for industrial applications

A consortium of companies and research institutes from five European countries has joined forces to improve the brightness of high-power direct-diode laser systems.

Having started in September, the three-year project ‘BRIDLE’ (Brilliant Industrial Diode Laser) is receiving funding of about €3m from the European Commission’s FP7 Theme 3 ‘Information and Communication Technologies’ program.

Coordinated by DILAS Diodenlaser GmbH of Mainz, Germany, the consortium includes researchers from the UK’s University of Nottingham, Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen and Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik (FBH) in Berlin, the Laboratoire Charles Fabry (a joint research unit between Institut d’Optique Graduate School and France’s CNRS), and the industrial partners Modulight Inc of Tampere, Finland and Bystronic Laser AG of Niederönz, Switzerland.

BRIDLE makes use of a modular, scalable and upward compatible approach, employing advanced technologies and beam combination architectures, to yield a diode laser source that delivers output power exceeding 2kW from a 100µm-diameter, NA<0.15 optical fiber with a power conversion efficiency of >40%.

The consortium aims to develop novel diode-laser mini-bars, targeting a 3x higher brilliance compared to commercially available broad-area emitters, with dense and coarse spectral multiplexing schemes pursued for power scaling. In addition, coherent beam combining techniques (which phase-couple bars to produce nearly diffraction-limited output) will be investigated.

During the project, a sequence of increasingly brilliant demonstrators will be developed, each targeting a specific industrial application. Manufacturability and cost down-scaling issues are also being addressed by integrating micro-optical beam shaping and beam combination into the production process.



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