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26 January 2007


Intense launches high-power laser diodes, bars, and stacks for industrial, medical and defense applications

At SPIE’s Photonics West 2007 event in San Jose, CA, USA this week, professor John Marsh, chief technology officer of Intense Ltd of Glasgow, UK, presented the firm’s new Hermes family of modular high-power diode lasers, available as diodes, bars and stacks (supplied in a variety of compact or custom packages).

The initial launch includes: single emitters with wavelength of 808nm (up to 5W) and 940 and 980nm (both up to 7W) in W, C, TO and TEC-style packages and 100-400µm fiber-coupled packages (both standard and hermetically sealed); unpackaged bars of 808 and 940nm (both up to 100W); 808nm conductively cooled bars (up to 60W); 808nm micro-channel cooled bars (up to 100W); and 808nm vertically and horizontally stacked assemblies of 10 bars (up to 850W in quasi-continuous-wave mode). Bars and stacks are available in both lensed and unlensed configurations. Other wavelengths are available as custom products on request.

Hermes lasers are based on Intense’s patented quantum well intermixing (QWI) process, which allows the monolithic integration of passive areas within the active region of high-power laser diodes . A dielectric cap on the surface of the active region of a GaAs/AlAs quantum well device causes diffusion of gallium atoms out of the quantum well and aluminium atoms into the quantum well. This increases the bandgap of the quantum well in a controlled and very precise way, so that active and passive sections can be created in the same laser cavity. Passive non-absorbing mirrors (NAMs) are created at the facet regions of the cavities to passivate the facet regions and prevent the absorption that causes catastrophic optical mirror damage (COMD), a problem frequently encountered in typical laser devices. Combined with the company’s proprietary design techniques , the result is a laser that can operate at high optical power and brightness with longer lifetimes and increased reliability, the firm claims.

The Hermes family is designed for demanding applications where high brightness and optical conversion energy efficiency are necessary to improve system performance, such as in direct fiber-coupled industrial and medical applications (including plastic welding, micro-welding, soldering, cosmetic and dental treatment), as well as aerospace and defense applications (such as military rangefinders).

"Many demanding applications, such as airborne systems, require high brightness and efficiency in the face of constrained power," says professor John Marsh, chief technology officer and developer of the patented QWI design process. "Hermes high-power lasers are based on a compact architecture with powerful optical output. High brightness and optical conversion efficiency improve overall system performance and reduce energy consumption. The product's enhanced lifetime and high reliability lower cost of ownership. Additionally, high power ratings as a direct energy source reduce system costs."

Higher-power products will be released in second-half 2007.

* Intense also demonstrated its existing INSlam and DLAM individually addressable monolithic array products. INSlam devices are modular, single-mode or multi-mode laser diodes designed for printing, materials processing and directed energy systems. The DLAM family of direct laser marking products increases speed, reduces complexity, and delivers unrivalled cost savings for direct printing and coding applications, Intense claims.