11 Feb 2009
The Chicon source maintains beam quality and stability at high power.
Careful control of the beta barium borate (BBO) crystals in Sony's Chicon laser source allows it to produce deep-UV emissions at 266 nm with 500 mW, 700 mW or 1W continuous wave output power.
"This power level in continuous wave, rather than pulsed, output is only available from the Chicon source," said Martin Gass, senior sales and marketing manager at Sony Manufacturing Systems Europe. "Chicon is the first air-cooled solid-state laser to provide them, along with unique beam quality and stability."
The key to achieving this power level has been careful control of the BBO crystal used for second- or higher-order harmonic generation. These crystals are used to achieve the deep-UV 266 nm emission in both the Chicon source and Sony's existing Cobalt sources, which emit at lower power levels of 10, 20, 100 or 200 mW.
"Our BBO crystals are produced using a patented growth technology that ensures virtually no deterioration of the crystal," said Gass. "This allows the generation of high-quality and stable beams in single longitudinal mode, without the need for periodic crystal shifts. So the output power is very high, and the beam quality is the highest you can get."
The Cobalt series is said to be the first all-solid-state laser product to generate a continuous oscillation beam at a single wavelength of 266nm, and the higher power levels available from Chicon are expected to open up new application areas.
"The output power available from Chicon can be used in laser inspection systems, Raman spectroscopy, lithography and other applications," commented Gass. "This is an example where a core technology developed in Sony laboratories originally for our own wafer inspection systems, has now been incorporated into a product with unique features and made available for others to use in new applications."