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Hamamatsu samples its first room temperature QCL

05 Sep 2007

A quantum cascade laser that operates continuous wave at room temperature is a first for Hamamatsu Photonics.

Hamamatsu Photonics of Japan is now sampling its first single-wavelength quantum cascade laser (QCL) operating continuous wave (cw) at room temperature. Mass production is scheduled to begin in January 2008 and the company is targeting its device at ultra-trace gas measurement systems.

"The QCL is a mid-infrared source that operates in the 5-8 µm region," Craig Palmer, assistant sales manager at Hamamatsu Photonics, told optics.org. "Output power depends upon operating conditions and is typically a few milliwatts cw or a few hundred milliwatts pulsed."

Although Palmer could not comment on the lifetime of the device, he did add that mean time to failure data is currently being accumulated.

The QCL is expected to find industrial applications such as real-time monitoring of environmental gases and the control of semiconductor process gases. "Room temperature operation was a request from our customers," explained Palmer. "For an instrument that is required to operate remotely, liquid nitrogen is not a convenient means of cooling."

Samples of the QCL are now available from the company to Japan-based as well as international manufacturers of analytical instruments. Hamamatsu expects no issues with the production release, which is scheduled for 30 January, 2008. "Production capacity should not be a problem," commented Palmer.

The company did not disclose the material system of the QCL but confirmed a distributed feedback or Fabry Perot structure.

The new QCL will be shown at FLAIR (Field Laser Applications in Industry and Research) 2007, in Florence, Italy from 2-7 September. It will also be on display at the 68th Autumn Meeting of the Japan Society of Applied Physics (JSAP) at the Hokkaido Institute of Technology in Japan from 4-8 September. A paper detailing the QCL technology will be presented at the 68th Annual Meeting of the JSAP on 7 September, and then again at the 20th Annual Meeting of the IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society (LEOS Annual 2007) in Florida, USA on 25 October.

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