3D-printed, low-cost, lightweight optomechanics for a compact, low-power solid state amplifier system
SPIE Photonics West: LASE
The use of additive manufacturing methods in research and industry has led to the possibility of designing more compact, light and low-cost assemblies. In the field of laser development, new opportunities resulting from additive manufacturing have rarely been considered so far. We present a compact, lightweight solid-state amplifier system for low-power applications where the optomechanical components are manufactured completely additive via Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF). The amplifier system is based on a Nd:YVO4-crystal pumped with an external, fiber-coupled diode at a wavelength of 808nm and a maximum output power of 3 W. The seed source is a Nd:YVO4-crystal based solid state laser with an emission wavelength of 1064 nm. The commercial optical components, such as lenses and crystal, are firmly imprinted via FFF in the optomechanics and thus secured against misalignment. Additionally, sensor technology for temperature measurement is implemented into the devices. The use of FFF, in which the components are printed from polymers, results in a lightweight yet stable construction. We have shown, that optical components can be imprinted without adding mechanical stress. To increase the mechanical and thermal robustness of the system different types of polymers as well as post process treatments are tested and the use of Laser Metal Deposition for this application is investigated. The thermal stability of the printed structures is evaluated to determine the maximum power level of the system without damaging the polymer-optomechanics. Furthermore, output power, optical-to-optical efficiency, beam pointing, and beam shape are measured for several on- and off-switching processes as well as long-term operation.