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Quantum well lasers target defence, printing

13 Dec 2006

Intense champions its revolutionary laser technology for next generation defense and digital printing roles.

Intense, a developer of next generation modular lasers for various precision industrial applications, has launched the Inslam range of laser diode modules designed specifically for defense and digital printing applications.

The compact, flexible units are based on Intense's Quantum Well Intermixing (QWI) process. The process allows for the monolithic integration of a large number of high power, individually addressable, single mode lasers on one chip. This enables the precise delivery of optical energy, and will gives higher accuracy and speed in "next generation" military rangefinders and illuminators, as well as digital printing presses.

"Manufacturers of precision equipment are demanding increased laser power and smaller form factors to provide higher accuracy and speed, as well as lower costs," said John Marsh, CTO at Intense and developer of the company's patented QWI process.

"The uniformity and beam control of each laser element in our new modules enable increased spatial brightness for a cost effective price. The compactness of the lasers provides the flexibility designers need to upgrade the functionality of existing systems. In a single semiconductor package, we can drive down the laser-based equipment costs and deliver unrivalled performance to a range of applications."

Individually addressable lasers

Each Inslam module contains individually addressable laser arrays with 10 to 100 emitters that operate at wavelengths within the 808 nm to 980 nm range. Single mode and multimode configurations are available.

The modules are effective with an individual pitch as low as 70 µm and power ranging from 30 mW to 200 mW. Laser lifetime has been reported in excess of 10,000 operating hours.

Each module includes the laser array and, if required, the drive electronics, optical monitoring, and micro and/or macro optics. This means a single, compact unit can replace a much larger traditional subsystem, Intense claims.

Quantum Well Intermixing

The Inslam devices are based on Intense's Quantum Well Intermixing (QWI) process. This process increases the quantum well band-gap of a semiconductor laser in a controlled, precise manner, such 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 avoid catastrophic optical mirror damage, a problem frequently encountered in typical laser devices. The end result is a high performance laser that can operate at high optical power with exceptional reliability.

NAMs bring additional advantages to many applications, including defense and digital printing, since the facet regions remain relatively cold during operation. This produces a well controlled single mode beam in terms of spot size and pointing stability. The uniformity and beam control of each laser element in the array result in very high resolution imaging.

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