21 March 2012

Ferdinand-Braun-Institut awarded Transfer Prize for materials-processing diode lasers

During the opening evening of Laser Optics Berlin trade fair on 19 March, a team from Berlin-based Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz-Institut fur Hoechstfrequenztechnik (FBH) was awarded the €50,000 Transfer Prize WissensWerte 2012, which is assigned by friends of the Technology Foundation Berlin (TSB).

Picture: FBH team being awarded Transfer Prize WissensWerte.

This is FBH’s second Transfer Prize, after its first in 2004 for the development of distributed feedback (DFB) high-power laser diodes (transferred industrially in collaboration with FBH spin-off eagleyard Photonics).

With the latest prize, six FBH scientists were honored for the sustainable transfer of high-power diode lasers for materials processing applications. In this field, FBH cooperates closely with Jenoptik Group subsidiary Jenoptik Diode Lab GmbH, which was spun off from FBH in 2002. “It [the award] manifests and acknowledges the long-term and extraordinarily fruitful collaboration with industrial partners like Jenoptik”, says awardee Dr Götz Erbert. “This cooperation is the basis for various developments in this application field helping us to ensure international technology leadership within the market for such laser systems”.

Led by Erbert, the FBH team is developing a novel generation of diode lasers for powerful laser systems used for materials processing. These systems consist of single diode lasers, each delivering typical output power of about 10W. To enhance their performance, simply increasing the output power is insufficient. The key tasks are to further increase efficiency (improve the effectiveness of transforming electrical into optical power) and to optimize the beam quality of the single diode lasers in the systems. Based on novel designs, the team has now developed diode lasers that have already achieved an efficiency of 63% at an output power of 12W. The team reckons that 15-20W should be achievable while maintaining the efficiency and beam quality. Such diode lasers hence set the stage for purely diode-laser-based systems for materials processing in the future.

To quickly transfer research results into an industrial environment, FBH is working closely with industrial partners. Long-term collaboration with Jenoptik Group, particularly in diode lasers for materials processing, yielded Jenoptik Diode Lab GmbH, which conducts semiconductor fabrication at its Adlershof campus in Berlin and continues to use the research results from FBH for its diode lasers. The ongoing cooperation is enabling continuous improvements in performance and is the basis for a large variety of new developments, says FBH. Due to customer demand, Jenoptik Diode Lab is currently expanding its production capacity (which is in close proximity to FBH), which will more than double the firm’s staffing.

Tags: Diode lasers

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