Read Microsoft Word - 2008_DSS_nLIGHT_19xx_Whitepaper.doc text version

High-power diode lasers operating at 1800-2100-nm for LADAR and direct use in IRCM applications

ABSTRACT

A variety of applications are driving development of high power laser diodes operating between 1.8 and 2.1 µm. For example, military and space LADAR applications benefiting from low atmospheric absorption around 2.1 µm utilize Ho:YAG solid state lasers. Efficient direct diode pumping of these systems can be achieved with diode lasers operating around 1.9 µm. As another example, high power diodes operating at >2 µm are suitable for direct use in laser-based infrared countermeasure (IRCM) systems. In this work, we describe recent progress in the development of high-power long-wavelength diode laser sources. For applications requiring high brightness, nLIGHT has developed a conductivelycooled package format, possessing a footprint the size of a typical business card, which is based on scalable arrays of single-emitter diode lasers which can be efficiently coupled into a 400 µm core fiber. Under a NASA-funded SBIR contract, rated QCW powers in excess of 25 W are reported for modules operating at room temperature around 1900-nm. At 2050-nm, room-temperature QCW power in excess of 20 W in the same format is also demonstrated. In copper microchannel-cooled cm-bar format, we demonstrate greater than 37 W peak power and 23% peak conversion efficiency at 1900-nm and 25 W at 2050-nm. Keywords: Diode laser, semiconductor laser, Ho:YAG, IRCM, mid-IR

1. BACKGROU D

Due to growing interest in applications requiring lasers which operate around 1.8 to 2.1 µm, diode laser technology in this wavelength band has been rapidly advancing [1-3]. For example, InGaAsP based 1900-nm lasers by nLIGHT have demonstrated >1.7 W CW from a 100-µm stripe single emitter [1]. Material built using the InGaAsSb material system has also advanced, with fiber-coupled modules delivering 15 W from a 600-µm core fiber [3]. Rapid commercialization of these technologies has ensued. Application segments driving this progress include medical, research, space, and defense. Due to a strong absorption peak in water, lasers operating close to 1900-nm are being utilized in medical fields such as dentistry, gallstone removal, eye surgery, and coronary angioplasty. The generation of 2- to 5-µm radiation in the research lab has historically been accomplished by the use of lasers which emit 2 µm radiation and then go through a complex series of wavelength conversions involving optical parametric oscillators (OPO's). Two applications which are of great importance to the defense industry include LADAR and infrared countermeasures (IRCM). Figure 1 illustrates the transmission spectrum of earth's atmosphere [4]. The high transmission around 2 µm, makes this wavelength regime well suited for military and space LADAR and free space communication applications. This band has been traditionally accessed by Ho:YAG-based solid state lasers emitting at 2.1 µm [5]. Unfortuantely, Ho:YAG does not have any suitable absorption feature in the traditional diode laser wavelength window of 785 to 980 nm, resulting in systems which are not directly pumped by traditional diode lasers. One common approach to the design of diode-pumped Ho-based lasers is to co-dope with Thulium, which can be directly pumped around 785 nm [6].

Unfortunately Tm-Ho:YAG lasers suffer from increased upconversion losses, resulting in shorter excited state lifetimes which limit laser performance [7-9]. Cascaded pumping schemes, such as intracavity pumping of Tm:YAG (or other Tm-doped crystal) and Ho:YAG crystals, or pumping Ho:YAG with Tm-doped fiber lasers, preserves the long excited state lifetime of singly-doped Ho:YAG (~8 ms), but the approach leads to greater laser system complexity, limiting the breadth of fieldable applications [7-8]. The maximum conversion efficiency of both approaches is also limited by the quantum defect which results from pumping at 795-nm. Direct diode pumping of singly-doped Ho:YAG is possible with diodes operating around 1.9 µm [9], thereby reducing the quantum defect and preserving the long excited-state lifetime of singly-doped Ho:YAG. This approach offers the promise of reduced system complexity, reduced cooling requirements, reduced cost, and improved reliability. See Figure 2.

Fig 1: Transmission spectrum of the earth's atmosphere. The high transmission around 2 µm makes lasers which operate around this wavelength ideal candidates for military and space LADAR systems.

Fig. 2: (Left) Schematic of a intracavity diode-pumped Tm:YAG/Ho:YAG solid state laser. The Tm:YAG crystal is pumped at 785 nm and emits at 2013 nm, the Ho:YAG crystal and resulting in a laser system output at 2097 nm [7]. The quantum defect is >60%. (Right) Absorption spectrum of Ho:YAG around 1900 nm [8]. Ho:YAG can be directly pumped at 1907 nm [9], reducing the quantum defect to under 10%.

Another application of critical importance to the defense community is laser-based infrared countermeasures. Manportable air-defense systems (MANPADS) are shoulder-launched, infrared "heat-seeking" missile systems which pose a critical threat to slow moving aircraft, such as helicopters and civilian airplanes [10]. These missile systems work by locking on to the mid-IR blackbody radiation heat signature of a hot object, such as the casing of a jet engine, guiding the missile to impact. Figure 3 illustrates the computed mid-IR blackbody emission spectrum of hot objects (at 500, 750, and 1000 °C). As shown, the peak emission occurs in the 2- to 3-µm regime, making mid-IR laser sources operating at these wavelengths attractive for countermeasure systems which seek to confuse the missile [11].

14

Relative Emission (a.u.)

12 10 8 6 4 2 0 0 2 4 6 Wavelength (µm)

1000 °C 750 °C 500 °C

8

Fig. 3: Computed blackbody emission spectra of an object at 500, 750, and 1000 °C. Infrared "heat-seeking" missiles track the mid-IR emission of hot objects (such as the casing of a jet engine). Laser-based infrared countermeasures (IRCM) systems attempt to confuse the missiles [11]. High power diode lasers operating around 2 µm enable a direct diode solution.

For these applications, and others, nLIGHT has continued commercial development of mid-IR laser diode sources operating at 1.8 to 2.1-µm. In this work, we detail results in two package formats. One-cm microchannel-cooled bars (nLIGHT CascadesTM product portfolio) have long been the standard packaging format for high-power laser diode modules. These bars can be stacked into vertical arrays to deliver unprecedented powers for applications such as sidepumped solid state lasers. Recent progress in fiber laser systems, end-pumped solid state laser systems, and direct diode laser systems has driven nLIGHT to develop a new package format, PearlTM, which is a conductively-cooled package based on scalable arrays of single emitters. These units have a footprint about the size of a standard business card, and can be efficiently coupled to 400- and 600-µm core fibers or have a collimated output. Results in each of these two formats are presented.

2. MICROCHA

EL-COOLED CM-BAR ARRAYS

nLIGHT's high-power 1.9 and 2.1 are based on strained InGaAs quantum wells grown by metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD). Wafers follow nLIGHT's standard broad area diode laser fabrication procedure. Laser bars are cleaved 1-cm wide with a 1.0-mm cavity length and 20% fill factor. The bars are coated and mounted junction down on copper microchannel-cooled heatsinks. Fig. 4 illustrates the output power and conversion efficiency of a single 1900-nm bar operating at 5 °C and 20 °C with 0.2-lpm water flow. As shown, the laser design achieves 35 W peak power and 23% power conversion efficiency at 5 °C. The performance is considerably less at 20 °C due to the strong wavelength and temperature dependence of Auger recombination rate [12]. Fig. 5 illustrates the output power and conversion efficiency of a single 2050-nm bar operating at 5 °C with 0.2-lpm water flow. The 2050-nm design achieves 25 W peak power and 19% peak conversion efficiency at 5 °C. The temperature performance of the 2050-nm design is noticeably worse than the 1900-nm. This is for two reasons. First, the wavelength dependence of Auger recombination rate (which strongly temperature sensitive) results in roughly twice the Auger recombination at 2050 nm than at 1900 nm [12]. Second, design modifications were required to push the Indium composition (and hence strain) in the quantum well high enough to obtain emission around 2050 nm [2, 12]. These design modifications are at odds with design for high temperature performance, resulting in the reduced temperature performance observed.

40 35

Output Power (W)

25

Conversion Efficiency (%)

5 °C 20 °C

25 20 15 10 5 0 0 50 100 150

15

Intensity (arb. units)

30

20

5 °C, 120 A 18.3 nm FWHM

10

5

0 200 250 1800 1850 1900 Wavelength (nm) 1950 2000 Current (A)

Fig. 4: (Left) A 1900-nm laser bar achieves 35 W peak power and 23% power conversion efficiency under CW operation at 5 °C with 0.2-lpm water flow. Increasing the temperature to 20 °C reduces the peak power to 25 W and the conversion efficiency to 19%. (Right) The bar has a spectral width 18.3 nm (FWHM) at 5 °C, 120 A.

30 25

Output Power (W)

25

5 °C

20

Conversion Efficiency (%)

20 15 15 10 5 0 0 50 100 150 200 250 Current (A) 5

Intensity (arb. units)

20 °C

10

5 °C, 110 A 15.1 nm FWHM

0 1950 2000 2050 Wavelength (nm) 2100 2150

Fig. 5: (Left) A 2050-nm laser bar achieves 25 W peak power and 19% power conversion efficiency under CW operation at 5 °C with 0.2-lpm water flow. Increasing the temperature to 20 °C reduces the peak power to 13 W and the conversion efficiency to 14%. (Right) The bar has a spectral width 15.1 nm (FWHM) at 5 °C, 110 A.

Single bars can be combined into vertically-stacked arrays to deliver high powers, as shown in Fig. 6. Each stack contains 10 bars on microchannel coolers. The 1907-nm stack was tested to 100 W (>200 W peak achievable) and showed 19% peak conversion efficiency at 15 °C with 0.2-lpm water flow. The 2050-nm design was tested to and rated at 70 W (> 140 W peak achievable) and operated at 14% peak conversion efficiency at 15 °C with 0.2-lpm water flow [2].

Fig. 6: Vertically-stacked arrays of ten 1-cm laser bars operating at (Left) 1900 nm and (Right) 2050 nm. The bars were operated CW at 15 °C with 0.2-lpm water flow [2].

As was shown in Figure 2, the absorption feature around 1907-nm for Ho:YAG is quite narrow (around 3 nm FWHM). Efficient laser systems require that the diode pump source be equivalently narrow to ensure efficient absorption of the pump beam. The drift of operating wavelength with temperature of conventional diode lasers also sets strict requirements on thermal control of the diode pump source. Figure 7 illustrates the operating spectral width and wavelength temperature coefficient of nLIGHT's single emitter diode laser products (operating at equivalent injection levels) across the spectrum. As shown, there is a clear dependence of both parameters on wavelength (A detailed description can be found in [13]). At 1907-nm, the spectral width of a broad area laser diode is greater than six times the spectral width of the associated absorption feature in Ho:YAG.

16

Wavel. Temp. Coeff. (nm/°C)

Accessible with VBG locking

0.8 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.0 500 800

Accessible with VBG locking

Spectral Width, FWHM (nm)

12

8

4

0 500 800

1100 1400 1700 2000 2300 Wavelength (nm)

1100 1400 1700 2000 2300 Wavelength (nm)

Fig. 7: (Left) Spectral width and (Right) wavelength temperature coefficient are strongly correlated with the operating wavelength of the diode laser. Longitudinal mode control, such as that introduced by locking with an external volume Bragg grating can dramatically reduce each of these.

Fortunately, external locking of the longitudinal modes by means of a volume Bragg grating (VBG) can provide narrowing of the emission spectral width and reduction of the wavelength temperature coefficient [14]. VBGs are external optics with a periodically-varying index of refraction written into the glass. This structure achieves a spectrallynarrow reflection, which selectively feeds a portion of the light back into the diode laser cavity. This approach effectively decreases the threshold for the fed-back longitudinal modes such that they lase first and tend to dominate. As a result, power is efficiently diverted into just one (or a few) desired longitudinal modes. Figure 8 illustrates the emission spectrum of a 1907-nm laser bar which has been lensed and locked with a VBG. As shown, the FWHM has been reduced from ~20 nm to 2.7 nm, making it well-suited for pumping Ho:YAG. The residual broad emission which

lies outside the 2.7 nm width is a result of imperfect locking, and is attributed to residual broad-band reflection of the VBG (due to imperfect coating) or from the laser facet. The VBG-locked bar also operates with a 10% drop in power relative to the free-running case, though this could be reduced through further refinements in the optical coatings of the VBG and diode laser facet, and a better spectral alignment of the peak laser gain to the center of the VBG reflectivity spectrum.

100% Original

75%

Intensity / Imax

50%

Lensed, with VBG 2.7 nm FWHM

25%

0% 1860

1880 1900 1920 Wavelength (nm)

1940

Fig. 8: Spectrum of a free-running and VBG-locked 11-W laser diode bar operating at 1907-nm. The FWHM spectral width is reduced by a factor of six to 2.7 nm. This is accompanied by a 10% decrease in laser power. The imperfect locking is due to residual reflections from the lens or laser facet [2].

3. CO DUCTIVELY-COOLED HIGH-BRIGHT ESS PUMP MODULE

For pumping of the solid state, efficient lasing is achieved by efficient absorption of the pump light in the solid state crystal and good overlap of the cavity optical mode with the pumped regions of the crystal [15]. The laser resonator TEM00 eigenmode is circularly symmetric; circularly symmetric with a Gaussian lateral profile. Ideally, the laser designer would like the pump optical mode profile to be close to that of the cavity eigenmode. This is best achieved through end-pumped configurations. Figure 9 illustrates the importance of pump brightness in end-pumping solid state laser rods. High brightness is also critical in free-space applications, such as direct diode IRCM, where low divergence is required to effectively transmit power over large distances.

High-brightness pump

Fundamental mode volume

Low-brightness pump

Fig. 9: High brightness pumps have distinct advantages in the end pumping of solid state laser rods. Thermal lensing sets strict limits on pump power and linear absorption. Lower-doped, longer rods allow for higher pump powers. Longer rods require pumps with large Rayleigh range to overlap with TEM00 mode volume.

nLIGHT has been actively working to improve brightness of diode laser modules. To this end, nLIGHT has developed a new package [16-17] based on arrays of singles emitters which offers the following advantages: 1. 2. 3. Higher brightness: Single emitters can be reliably operated at higher powers than emitters in a bar array. Fewer emitters are required to achieve similar operating powers to bars, improving M2. Conductively cooled: The physical separation of the emitters as compared to a bar eliminate neighbor heating and the requirement for water cooling Enhanced reliability: AuSn hard solder permits higher operating powers without the creep associated with low melting point In solder. Active regions run cooler at a given output power compared to on a bar. Low cost: Screening/qualification of individual `chiplets' increases yield and leads to lower cost and higher reliability. Flexibility: Any wavelength diode laser nLIGHT currently produces (from 600 to 2100 nm) can be packaged in this way. Multiple wavelengths from a single box are possible. Emitters can be wavelength-locked using volume Bragg gratings for spectral stabilization. The unit can be fibercoupled or collimated for easier coupling to the solid state.

4. 5.

Brightness scaling in this format can be achieved through three independent approaches ­ increasing the number single emitters in the array, increasing the coupled power per single emitter in the array, and moving toward smaller diameter fiber / improved collimated beam quality. Continued innovation in the areas of diodes, optics, and packaging will enable ever-brighter products. Figure 10 illustrates a photograph of nLIGHT's fiber coupled package in various configurations and the three independent paths toward brightness scaling.

Brightness Scaling

1. More SEs

2. Higher Power SEs

3. Smaller Fiber

Today

Fig. 10: (Top left) Photograph of a conductively-cooled nLIGHT PearlTM package with optional external lens for collimated output. This unit achieves a divergence of < 6 mrad (fast and slow axes) with beam diameter of < 9x12 mm (Top right) Two fiber-coupled nLIGHT PearlTM modules. (Bottom left) Photograph of a PearlTM module next to a common ink pen to emphasize its relative size. The unit weights ~500 grams. (Bottom right) Module brightness can be scaled in three independent ways. Coupling to smaller fiber is achieved through improvements in optical alignment and diode emitter brightness.

1900 nm

Conversion Efficiency (%)

20

2050 nm

Output Power (Watts)

CW, sum of emitters CW, Pearl array

Output Power (Watts)

CW, sum of emitters CW, Pearl array

15 10 5 0 0 5 Current (A) 10

15 10 5 0

15 10 5 0 0 5 Current (A) 10

15 10 5 0

Conversion Efficiency (%)

Output Power (Watts)

Output Power (Watts)

35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 0

1ms pulse, 1% duty cycle 5ms pulse, 1% duty cycle

25 20 15 10 5

1ms pulse, 1% duty cycle

15 10 5 0

10

5

0 0 5 10 15 Current (A)

0

5

10 Current (A)

15

20

Intensity (arb. units)

Intensity (arb. units)

3A 6A 9A 12A

9A 7A 5A 3A

1875

1900

1925

1950

1975

2000

2050

2100

2150

Wavelength (nm)

Wavelength (nm)

Fig. 11: PearlTM results at 1900 nm (left column) and 2050 nm (right column). These units are measured afocal, though units with >90% coupling efficiency to a 400-µm or 600-µm fiber are also available. (Top) Under 25 °C CW operation, the 1900-nm unit delivers ~18 W (rated) and the 2050-nm unit delivers ~15 W (rated). PearlTM array data indicate < 4% loss due to the optics and were measurement-limited to 6 A. (Middle) Under quasi-CW (1% duty cycle), 25 °C operation, the 1900-nm unit delivers 39 W (peak) for 1 ms pulse widths and 30 W (peak) for 5 ms pulse widths. The 2000-nm unit delivers 25 W (peak) for 1 ms pulse widths. (Bottom) CW lasing spectra from one PearlTM emitter from each unit taken at four different injection levels.

Conversion Efficiency (%)

40

20

30

15

Conversion Efficiency (%)

20

20

20

Figure 11 depicts nLIGHT PearlTM results at 1900 and 2050 nm. The 1900-nm module demonstrates 18 W (rated) CW and 25 W (rated) QCW (5 ms pulse width) at 25 °C. The 2050-nm module demonstrates 15W (rated) CW and 20 W (rated) QCW (1 ms pulse width) at 25 °C. These units were measured with a collimated output, but could be efficiently (>90%) coupled to a 400- or 600-µm core fiber, depending on the application and customer needs. Higher powers and conversion efficiencies are available for units rated at lower temperature. A key enabling factor in this packaging approach is the ability to deliver high performance with high reliability through the use of hard (AuSn) solder with expansion-matched heatsinks. This technology is critical to military and space-based applications which require mean-time-to-failures (MTTFs) in excess of those achievable using water- and conductioncooled solutions based on In solder and high thermal conductivity heatsinks. Note that the poor temperature performance of long-wavelength diode lasers (relative to those operating at wavelengths below 1 µm), makes difficult the use of expansion-matched heatsinks (which typically have greatly reduced thermal conductivities). As a rule-ofthumb, at 1900-nm a factor two difference in thermal resistance translates to a factor of two difference in maximum output power. Nonetheless, excellent performance has been achieved with this high reliability approach. Figure 12 illustrates preliminary lifetest qualification data of the design (tests are still ongoing at the time of publication). To date, >18,800 total device hours (corresponding to >30,100 equivalent accelerated hours) have been demonstrated with virtually no performance degradation.

120%

Normalized power at rated operating current (a.u.)

100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% 0 250 500 750 Time (hours) 1000

48 °C Junction 63 °C Junction

Quantity 20 1907-nm diodes >18,800 device hours (>30,100 accelerated hours)

Fig. 12: Preliminary reliability qualification data of 1907-nm PearlTM emitters. To date, >18,800 total device hours have been logged with no observed performance degradation. Reliability testing is still ongoing at the time of publication.

4. CO CLUSIO

Applications such as direct pumping of Ho:YAG for military and space LADAR and direct diode laser IRCM have continued to drive development of diode lasers operating between 1800 and 2100 nm. nLIGHT's CascadesTM microchannel-cooled cm-bar product line offers > 15 W per bar (rated) in the 18XX to 19XX-nm band and > 10 W per bar (rated) in the 20XX-nm band. These bars can be packaged into vertically-stacked arrays and/or VBG-locked for improved spectral performance. Due to the brightness requirements of end-pumped Ho:YAG and direct diode laser IRCM, nLIGHT has expanded its PearlTM product line to include units operating between 1800 and 2100 nm. Operating at 25 °C, 18XX to 19XX-nm PearlTM modules demonstrate 18 W CW and 25 W QCW (5 ms pulse width). Similar 20XX-nm PearlTM modules demonstrate 15 W CW and 20 W QCW (1 ms pulse width). These units can be efficiently (>90%) coupled to a 400 or 600-µm fiber, or provide collimated output, depending on application needs. Higher powers and conversion efficiencies are available for units rated at lower temperatures. For applications requiring narrow, temperature-stabilized emission spectra, modules employing VBG-locking are also available. Preliminary reliability qualification demonstrates >18,800 total device hours with no observed performance degradation.

ACK OWLEDGME TS

Our work to improve the power and brightness of long-wavelength laser modules based on strained InGaAs is supported by NASA under contract number NNL07AA08C.

REFERE CES

[1] P. Crump, et. al, "Extending the Wavelength Range of Single Emitter Diode Lasers for Medical and Sensing Applications: 12xx-nm quantum dots, 2000-nm wells, > 5000-nm cascade lasers", Proc. SPIE, vol. 6456, (2007). P. Crump, et. al, "Room Temperature High Power Mid-IR Diode Laser Bars for Atmospheric Sensing Applications," Proc. SPIE, vol. 6552, (2007). M. Haverkamp, K. Wieching, M. Traub, and K. Boucke, "Fiber-coupled diode laser modules with wavelengths around 2-µm," Proc. SPIE, vol. 6456, (2007). http://www.ipac.caltech.edu/Outreach/Edu/Windows/irwindows.html N. Barnes and D. Gettemy, "Pulsed Ho:YAG oscillator and amplifier," IEEE J. Quant. Elect., vol. 17, pg. 1303-1308, (1981). T.Y. Fan, G. Huber, R.L. Byer, and P. Mitzscherlich, "Continuous wave operation at 2.1 pm of a diode laser pumped, Tm-sensitized Ho:YAG laser at 300 K," Opt. Lett., vol. 12, (1987). R. A. Hayward, W. A. Clarkson, and D. C. Hanna, "High-power room-temperature intracavity-pumped Ho:YAG laser," OSA Conf. on Lasers and Electro-optics, CWB2, (2000). P.A. Budni, M.L. Lemons, J.R. Mosto and E.P. Chicklis, "High-power/high-brightness diode-pumped 1.9µm thulium and resonantly pumped 2.1-µm holmium lasers," IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quant. Elect., vol. 4, pg. 629-635, (2000). C. D. Nabors, J. Ochoa, T. Y. Fan, A. Sanchz, H. K. Choi, and G. W. Turner, "Ho:YAG Laser Pumped By 1.9-µm Diode Lasers," IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics, vol. 31, no. 9, pg. 1603-1605, (1995).

[2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

[9]

[10] http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/manpads.asp [11] D. H. Titterton (Ed.) "Technologies for Optical Countermeasures IIII", Proc. of SPIE, vol. 6397, (2006). [12] H. K. Choi (Ed.) Long Wavelength Infrared Semiconductor Lasers, Wiley, New Jersey, (2004). [13] P. Leisher, et al., "Mode Control for High Performance Laser Diode Sources," Proc. of SPIE, vol. 6952, (2008). [14] http://www.pd-ld.com/pdf/VBG_PAPER.pdf [15] W. Koechner, Solid-State Laser Engineering, Springer-Verlag, New York, 3rd ed., (1992). [16] http://www.nlight.net/products-17.html [17] S. Patterson, et al., DEPS 20th SSDLTR, (2007).

Information

Microsoft Word - 2008_DSS_nLIGHT_19xx_Whitepaper.doc

10 pages

Find more like this

Report File (DMCA)

Our content is added by our users. We aim to remove reported files within 1 working day. Please use this link to notify us:

Report this file as copyright or inappropriate

624645


You might also be interested in

BETA
June-2006-Final-3-No-Price.qxp
Microsoft Word - NIGHT VISION CATALOGUE.doc