Powerful laser smaller than shoe box size
09/08/2006

Fig. 1: Compact high-power laser module with an output power of more than 400 watts at dimensions of (LxWxH) 26.5 x 6.2 x 8 cm

Almost everybody knows them, the laser swords from Star Wars. Small and compact, but full of energy. The Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) is well on its way not to develop a laser sword, but yet a small, compact, and nevertheless powerful laser for material processing.

Compact high-power lasers have a high potential for industrial applications, e.g. for cutting and welding in automotive engineering, aerospace industry, and glass industry. The problem of most of the so-called endpumped solid state lasers is that high temperatures and mechanical stress limit the supplied pump power of the laser rods – the core of a laser.

This limitation can be overcome by using innovative laser rods. They consist of several segments with different properties put together to form one rod. Thus, a power output is made possible which is three times higher than that of homogeneous laser rods.

For those who want to know some details: The laser rod (from FEE GmbH), which consists of five different segments, is pumped by a laser diode stack with a total power output of 710 watts. As a result of the structure and optical quality of the rod (more details on the rod’s structure would go beyond the scope of the text), a power output of 413 watts at 1064 nm is achieved.

This laser – the physicist speaks of a high-power multisegment endpumped Nd:YAG laser – has the same optical properties as a conventional sidepumped laser, but an optical-optical efficiency of 58 % at total dimensions of only 26.5 x 6.2 x 8 cm. Two such lasers, for instance, fit comfortably into a shoe box! Darth Vader, we’re coming!

The research project is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Business Development & Communications Department
Michael Botts
Public Relations
Tel.: +49 511 2788-151
Fax: +49 511 2788-100
The Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) carries out research and development in the field of laser technology and is supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Transport of the State of Lower Saxony (Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Arbeit und Verkehr).