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Panasonic develops high-power blue beam combining

30 Jan 2020

New design enables high-power, shorter wavelength laser for microfabrication at high beam quality.

Panasonic says it has succeeded in demonstrating what it calls “the world's highest brightness blue laser.” This has been achieved by using the wavelength beam combining technology on a direct diode laser to produce the high quality output beam.

With this technology, power scaling is enabled while maintaining the beam quality by simply increasing the number of laser sources. This demonstration opens the door to laser intensities that could be two orders of magnitude higher than conventional blue laser systems.

This technology will contribute to the emerging microfabrication processes, whose demand is expected to grow in industrial applications, such as in the automotive industry.

According to Panasonic, the automotive industry is “moving towards electrification and miniaturization while requiring high rigidity, design flexibility and productivity." Against this background, the anticipation for the microfabrication lasers that can process various kinds of materials such as copper, gold and plastic is building up.

The company’s launch statement gives the following application example: “Blue lasers, especially, with a high optical absorption efficiency will have high demand in the field of copper fabrication for the automotive motors and batteries. Highly-productive processing requires a laser beam source that has both high output power and high beam quality.

Laser development collaboration

In order to develop such a beam source, Panasonic started collaboration with TeraDiode (TDI), a Massachusetts, U.S.-based company, in 2013, and since has been developing WBC technology which can combine multiple and different wavelengths into one combined beam.

In 2014, Panasonic released LAPRISS; the world's first laser welding robot system equipped with an infrared DDL using WBC technology. Then in 2017, the company acquired TDI as a wholly-owned subsidiary and started developing on the output-power optimization on WBC as well as shortening the wavelength.

How it works

The output power optimization of the high-beam-quality blue laser (its wavelength band range is 400nm – 450 nm) was realized by combining more than 100 emitters from multiple diode bars with WBC technology.

This WBC technology combines the beams from multiple emitters at different wavelengths that are incident on the diffraction grating at angles corresponding to each wavelength. The resonator is then formed in between the shared partially-transparent mirror and each edge face of the emitters. As a result, the output beam has achieved a output power of 135 W with a high beam quality of BPP 1.5 mm mrad.

Panasonic commented that it plans to develop a processing system that is equipped with this laser beam source, as well as the process optimization in laser processing. Panasonic will hold exhibits and lecture sessions at Photonics West in San Francisco from February 1 to 6, 2020.

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