21 Jan 2003
YAG lasers based on a ceramic active medium will be commercially available this year.
Neodymium YAG laser rods based on a ceramic active medium will be on sale later this year. Optics.org has learned that the material, which was developed by researchers at the Institute for Laser Science, University of Electro-communications in Tokyo, Japan, will be sold by the Japanese company Konoshima Chemical.
Laser rods based on the material can be seen at the CLEO show in Baltimore, US, and the Laser 2003 show in Munich, which are both held in June this year.
Rod sizes from 2 x 100 to 12 x 220 mm will be available, with neodymium concentrations from 0.1 to 2%. Larger slabs for high-power sources are set to follow these initial products.
Ceramic rod growth is said to be cheaper and faster than conventional single-crystal rod growth that is normally used to make Nd:YAG laser materials. In addition, the ceramic rods can be mass-produced and scaled to large sizes, whereas crystals are restricted to about 23 cm. Additional functions such as Q-switching and Raman shifting can be incorporated into the ceramic rod.
The Tokyo team, which is led by Ken-ichi Ueda, reported a ceramic Nd:YAG-based laser that emitted over 1 kW at the previous Laser show in 2001.
Michael Hatcher is technology editor of Opto and Laser Europe magazine.