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9 May 2007


Photodigm launches high-power, single-frequency diode laser platform

At this week's Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO 2007) in Baltimore, MD, USA, Photodigm Inc of Richardson, TX, USA launched its proprietary diode laser technology platform which, the firm claims, delivers efficiency and diffraction-limited beam quality advantages over conventional laser solutions. Evaluation units of the GaAs-based PH9/10xxSFhigh-power, single-frequency DBR edge-emitting laser are available in specific wavelengths of 920-1100nm.

Until now, it has been impossible to combine the attributes of high power, diffraction-limited beam quality, low astigmatism, and single-frequency operation in one device, the firm claims. Photodigm says it has applied its design and process technology to create the world's first product that combines all of these characteristics in a laser that provides a single lateral and longitudinal mode beam at power levels which, until now, could only be achieved with a diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) laser, such as an Nd:YAG laser.

The new laser platform is based on a proprietary distributed Bragg reflector (DBR) ridge waveguide process. The quantum-well epitaxial design of the active layer enables output power in excess of 500mW, with wall-plug efficiencies of up to 50%, while maintaining single-frequency operation. The laser provides the optical performance of a DPSS laser without the efficiency penalty of its quantum defect, Photodigm says . Furthermore, unlike a DPSS laser, the DBR laser can be produced at wavelengths throughout the semiconductor material’s spectral range.  

“Our technology represents a significant improvement over conventional broad-area and DPSS solutions,” reckons CEO John E. Spencer. “The immediate availability of our devices, coupled with our long-term roadmap to higher powers and additional wavelengths [1250-1600nm, using InP], means that we can provide our customers with a strategic advantage as they design their next-generation products.”

The firm believes that the device will enable new, lower-cost, higher-efficiency products in segments such as free-space communications, digital imaging, defense, and medical devices, including stabilized diode lasers for fiber Bragg grating (FBG) replacement, low-power DPSS replacement, and spectroscopy.

*Photodigm awarded $749,862 by the Texas Emerging Technology Fund

Photodigm has been awarded $749,862 by the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (ETF) of the North Texas Regional Center for Innovation and Commercialization (NTXRCIC) of Dallas, TX, USA. The NTXRCIC is a not-for-profit corporation that helps to identify, evaluate, and develop new technologies in the region by assisting technology-based entrepreneurs in starting and growing new ventures.

The award is intended for further development of Photodigm’s laser technology. Initial applications are already in progress, in both an anti-submarine warfare sensor and commercial ‘inkless printing’ systems.

“The funds provided by the TETF are timely and crucial to the implementation of our product roadmap”, says Spencer.

The firm has an intellectual property portfolio of 25 patents and is collaborating on further research with professors at Southern Methodist University (where co-founder, VP and chief technology officer Gary Evans is a professor of electrical engineering).