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23 July 2014

TeraDiode ships 4kW direct-diode laser with beam quality sufficient for cutting steel

TeraDiode of Wilmington, MA, USA, which is commercializing high-brightness direct-diode laser technology, has announced shipment of its first 4kW TeraBlade laser, doubling the power density of its direct-diode platform. The shipment ushers in the third generation of industrial lasers, opening up applications that were cost-prohibitive for previous generations, it is claimed.

With a 100 micron output fiber, the TeraBlade 4kW laser has a beam-parameter-product (BPP) of 4mm-mrad, with superior beam quality being developed. This value of BPP is needed for high-throughput cutting of steel over the range of thicknesses cut by laser cutters in job shops around the world. TeraDiode has already demonstrated cutting of ½” (12.7mm) mild steel with cut quality and speed comparable to disk and fiber lasers, it is claimed.

“In the short time since our first industrial shipments, we doubled the power of our laser modules from 600W to 1.2kW,” notes CEO Dr Parviz Tayebati. “These modules, which we use in our multi-kilowatt systems, reduce our production cost to just below that of the incumbents who have needed years of shipping in high volume to reach these levels,” he adds. “From here, increasing our production will accelerate further improvements to widen the gap in efficiency, reliability and cost of ownership over the incumbents.”

TeraDiode says that the TeraBlade platform benefits from a combination of economy of scale of diode laser array chips and Wavelength Beam Combination (WBC), a technology patented by MIT and licensed exclusively to TeraDiode (which now also has its own patents in WBC) that enables the combination of energy from thousands of individual emitters into a single laser beam while preserving the beam quality needed for cutting and welding applications. WBC is claimed to be unique for its inherent capability to preserve the wall-plug efficiency of direct diode lasers while delivering the high brightness previously achieved only by lasers requiring more complicated gain/feedback architectures. The TeraBlade lasers shipped with wall-plug efficiencies of 40%, far surpassing first-generation CO2 and lamp-pumped rod lasers (which are approximately just 10% efficient) as well as second-generation diode-pumped disk and fiber lasers (which are roughly just three times more efficient than their predecessors).

The beam quality of the TeraBlade 4kW laser is based on new 1.2kW TeraBlade modules that are twice as powerful as earlier versions, with superior beam quality, says TeraDiode. These higher brightness modules enable the TeraBlade platform to scale up to 10kW and serve a wide range of applications in the cutting and welding markets; such higher-brightness direct-diode lasers will be introduced in the coming quarters. The TeraBlade-4000 has a center wavelength of 970nm and a 100-micron delivery fiber; versions are available with beam parameter products of less than 4mm-mrad for cutting and less than 6mm-mrad for remote welding. Its modular architecture makes the TeraBlade platform field serviceable and scalable to higher powers, says TeraDiode.

Tags: Laser diodes

Visit: www.teradiode.com

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