High-power visible spectrum diode lasers for display and medical applications beam sources with tailored beam quality and spectral characteristics

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1 High-power visible spectrum diode lasers for display and medical applications beam sources with tailored beam quality and spectral characteristics Andreas Unger, Bernd Köhler, Jens Biesenbach DILAS Diodenlaser GmbH, Galileo-Galilei-Str. 10, Mainz-Hechtsheim, Germany ABSTRACT In this paper we report on the further progress of fiber coupled high power diode lasers in the visible spectral range with regard to beam quality and spectral characteristics. Improved beam shaping concepts allow coupling of red and blue diode lasers into smaller fibers. For medical applications beam sources with narrow wavelength distribution in the blue spectral region were developed. Modules up to 100W in a 400µm NA0.22 fiber were realized. Progress in manufacturing technologies allows for coupling of more than 25W into a 200µm NA0.22 fiber in the blue wavelength range. Keywords: Visible diode laser, fiber coupling, display applications 1. INTRODUCTION Diode lasers in the visible spectral range are currently a highly active field of research. While the development of red and blue diode lasers is driven by the goal to replace arc lamps in cinema or home projectors and enable mobile projectors that can be incorporated into smartphones, the availability of high power diode lasers in the red and blue spectral region also enables other new applications. The discovery that blue light with wavelengths smaller than 450nm can be used to fight pathogens 1 opens up markets for fiber coupled blue lasers in the medical area. Blue Lasers with a wavelength of 444nm can also be used as a pumping source for Pr3+ and enables the creation of several laser lines in the blue to red spectral range without frequency doubling 2. On the other hand red lasers at wavelengths of ~638nm can also be used to several semiconductor and solid state lasers which is interesting e.g. for LIDAR applications. Of course the application for large venue and cinema projectors is still highly relevant, and it is expected that the first cinema projectors operating with laser light sources will be released in 2014 to public cinemas. To serve the needs of these emerging markets, DILAS has developed a range of fiber coupled and free space lasers in the blue and red spectral range. In the red the well-established T-Bar concept developed at DILAS was employed 3,4. The resulting electro optical base plate which is capable of delivering 50W of polarized light at 638nm into a 400µm NA0.22 fiber was published previously 5. Polarization coupling can be used to further scale the output power up or increase the brightness and couple into a 200µm fiber. Further upscaling of the output power can only be done by increasing the beam parameter product of the resulting laser source. Since the T-Bar concept is modular, beam sources incorporating up to 8 base plates are available and can be adapted for the baseplate at 638nm wavelength. This paper will focus on the development of a polarization coupled beam source with up to 100W output power from a 400µm fiber and a 40W beam source with increased brightness by coupling to a 200µm fiber. In the blue spectral range single emitters are employed and coupled side by side to enable high power output. Currently available high power multi-mode single emitters in the blue have a beam parameter product of 1-2mm mrad in the slow axis and an output power of more than 1.5W 6. Based on these data beam sources with several 100W into a 400µm NA0.22 fiber seem possible but require a high number of single emitters. At DILAS a modular combining concept for packaged single emitters was developed. This concept, published previously, enables output powers up to 100W from a 400µm fiber 5. Based on this concept 10W and 25W beam sources were recently introduced into the market. Improvement of the fabrication technologies enables further scaling of the brightness of these modules and coupling into tel. +49 (0) ; fax +49 (0) ;

2 200µm fibers. In addition, spectral selection of single emitters enables tighter wavelength tolerances and tailored spectral characteristics for special applications, like medical use or pumping. 2.1 Fiber coupled 100W red laser diode module 2. LASER MODULE CONCEPTS In this section the setup of the fiber coupled 100W laser source at 638nm wavelength is described. The beam source is based on two electro optical base plates. These base plates, as published previously 5, combine up to 7 laser diode bars and incorporate collimation and stacking optics as well as a cooling structure for efficient heat removal. The base plate assembly and all optics alignment are done fully automated enabling cost-efficient mass production. The output of a single base plate is a square collimated laser beam with roughly 5x5mm 2 and a beam parameter product of 45 mm mrad in the slow axis and 10 mm mrad in the fast axis, respectively. The divergence in the slow axis is quite large (~40mrad full angle) and requires special attention due the accordingly short Rayleigh length. Two of these base plates are assembled together in a readily available package developed for infrared direct diode applications (Fig. 1). Fig. 1 Package for coupling of 2 T-bar base plates into a single fiber. The laser module has a size of 200x200x50mm 3. The beam path of the polarization combining and fiber coupling section is shown in Fig. 2. The beam paths of the two plates are of equal length and redirected with folding mirrors towards a thin film polarizer (TFP). To optimize the combining efficiency the TFP is hit under an angle of 56. Due to the good degree of polarization of the single beams and the optimized TFP combining efficiency is ~97%. The long beam path, which is necessary due to the mechanical constraints, would lead to inefficient fiber coupling when using a single focusing lens, because the high slow axis divergence in combination with a long beam path would introduce considerable astigmatism. To cope with this problem and adapt the different divergence angles in the fast and slow axis, an imaging and magnifying relay optic is employed. This optic is interleaved with the TFP and consists of three plano-convex cylindrical lenses, two before the TFP (one in each beam path) which form an intermediate image and one after the TFP for the combined beam which recollimates the beam and forms a magnified image of the collimated laser diode bars in front of the fiber coupling lens. The fiber coupling optics finally consists of a single aspheric lens.

3 Fig. 2 Simulated beam path from exit of the base plates to the fiber. On the top right the exit of the two base plates is shown in different beam color. Please see text for a description of the optical elements. Dividing the beam in the slow axis and overlaying both parts with polarization coupling optics can lead to a beam source with half the beam parameter product in the slow axis with almost the same optics than the previous two plate module. For coupling this module into a 200µm fiber NA0.22 the same optics were used as previously for a single base plate. Instead of the TFP an integrated optical element behind the second telescope lens was used for polarization coupling. An additional telescope with 2:1 magnification of the beam in the slow axis was used to be able to use the same fiber coupling lens. 2.2 Fiber coupled blue laser diode module The beam quality of a current state-of-the-art single emitter at 450nm is around 1-2mm mrad in the slow axis, thus allowing in principle to couple more than 100 emitters into a 400µm NA0.22 fiber. Practically it is challenging to align many pre-packaged single emitters in a cost-efficient way for highly efficient fiber coupling. Previously a 25W module with a beam quality of 31mm mrad in the slow axis was published 5. This BPP was sufficient for coupling into a 400µm NA0.2 fiber. However, the achieved beam quality was dominated by fabrication imperfections due to glue shrinkage in the alignment. This problem is much more severe for the blue single emitters than for a conventional laser diode bar because the small BPP and correspondingly small divergence of a single collimated diode requires an extremely precise pointing alignment. To improve the beam quality a new submodule for 6 single emitters aligned along their fast axis was developed (Fig. 3). In this module 6 diodes and an aspheric collimation lens for each diode are fit into a common heat sink. A turning prism for each single emitter allows for an increase in fill factor and enables precise pointing alignment for each single laser beam. Up to 4 of these modules can be fit onto a water cooled heat sink and coupled side by side along the fast axis giving a total raw output power of up to 38W at 1.6W per single emitter. The resulting raw beam has an asymmetrical far field divergence and can be coupled to a 200µm fiber with two cylindrical lenses. Based on this concept modules with 10W and 25W Output power were fabricated (Fig. 4). The common heat sink can also be used for TEC-cooling and does not have to be water cooled.

4 Fig. 3 Submodule for 6 pre-packaged single emitters on a water cooled heatsink for up to 4 submodules. The single emitters are arranged in the fast axis. For the increase of the fill factor in the fast axis and pointing alignment turning prisms are glued to the black triangular holding structure. Fig. 4 Single emitter module for up to 24 single emitters. The module has a size of 120x150x65mm 3 3. RESULTS In this section the performance of the realized submodules and fiber coupled sources will be presented in detail. 3.1 Fiber coupled red laser diode modules Fig. 5 shows the measured output power and power conversion efficiency (PCE) from the built 100W module. The targeted output power of 100W is reached at a current of 14A. From the raw output power of a single base plate (Fig. 6) a total coupling efficiency of 75% is calculated. At 100W output power and 20 C cooling plate temperature a PCE of 24% is achieved. This is only 3% lower compared to the previously published data of a fiber coupled single base plate at 50W output power and shows the good combining efficiency by means of polarization coupling. The remaining losses are mainly due to Fresnel losses at the uncoated fiber ends and a larger BPP of the single base plate in the slow axis compared to the fiber as published previously. The latter problem could be overcome if a slightly larger fiber, e.g.

5 500µm is permissible in a specific application. Fig. 7 shows the wavelength spectrum of the 100W module. A line width of 1.7nm is achieved. Fig. 5 Output power from a 400µm NA0.22 fiber and power conversion efficiency of the 100W 638nm laser source. At 14A an output power of 100W with a conversion efficiency of 24% is achieved. Fig. 6 raw output power from a typical single base plate. Fig. 7 wavelength spectrum of the 100W 638nm laser source at 80W output power. At 20 C the central wavelength is 639nm and the 90% line width is 1.7nm A prototype module for coupling one base plate to a 200µm NA0.22 fiber was built and characterized. Fig. 8 shows the obtained output power and PCE. Although the polarization coupling works well with low power losses a significant degradation in coupling efficiency compared to the previously shown 400µm 50W and 100W modules was observed.

6 One reason for this loss in coupling efficiency is that only in the slow axis the beam parameter product is halved whereas the fast axis beam parameter product stays the same, which leads to increased coupling losses in the diagonal axis. The position of the polarization combining optics and the second telescope also can still be optimized by using a different housing which provides more space for the optics. Despite this optimization potential more than 40W in the 200µm NA0.22 fiber with a power conversion efficiency of 20% was achieved. Fig. 8 Output power from a 200µm NA0.22 fiber and power conversion efficiency of the one base plate polarization coupled module. At 14A an output power of 42W with a conversion efficiency of 20% is achieved. 3.2 Fiber coupled blue laser diode module Fig. 9 shows the fiber coupled output of a 25W module coupled into a 400µm NA0.22 fiber. At a nominal current of 1.2A an output power of 29W is reached. The optical coupling efficiency is 84%, the remaining coupling losses are mainly Fresnel losses at the uncoated fiber ends and absorption, scattering and reflection losses at the optical elements inside the module. Due to the short wavelength and therefore increased absorption and Rayleigh scattering these losses are actually more pronounced than at the longer red and infrared wavelengths. Fig. 9 Output power and efficiency of the blue laser module with 24 single emitters coupled into a 400µm NA0.22 fiber. A 10W module was built for 200µm fiber coupling and characterized. Fig 10 shows the PI curve and power conversion efficiency. Compared to 400µm fiber coupling the WPE is reduced to 18% which is a decrease of 3%. 10W of output power are reached at a current of 1A, which is very well within the specification of the used diodes. However, from the design of the module and single diode measurements a 10% higher coupling efficiency is expected. Since in the 25W module only the NA in one axis increases but stays well below the fiber NA, equal coupling efficiency but a higher NA filling is expected. The NA filling of the 10W module is actually only 0.16.

7 Fig. 10 Output power and efficiency from a module with 12 single emitters from a 200µm NA0.22 fiber. The NA of these modules is actually only 0.16 (95%) To further investigate the reasons for the unclear loss in coupling efficiency the laser beam profile at the optical fiber was investigated with a CCD camera. Fig. 11 shows the obtained beam profile. From the camera a focal spot with 144µm width in the slow and 172µm in the fast axis (95% values) was obtained. The NA of the module was measured from the laser beam size before the focusing optics and the focal width of the focusing optics and was found to be 0.16 over the diagonal of the beam. Based on these measurement data the fiber coupling efficiency should be higher. Possible explanations for the unclear additional losses are stray light caused by aberrations or the single emitters themselves, which is not captured by the dynamic range of the camera but contributes to the power within the 400µm fiber diameter or additional absorption or scattering losses inside the used 200µm fibers. Fig. 11 Focal Spot of a 10W modul (12 emitters coupled) on the coupling side of the fiber in false color (middle,the circle has a 200µm diameter) and integrated cross section for slow axis (left) and fast axis (right). The 95% spot sizes measured are 144µm in the slow axis and 172µm in the fast axis, respectively. For many applications the typical spectral distribution of multiple single emitters is too broad and wavelength selected modules are requested. For example in medical use a wavelength distribution <450nm is desired. Fig. 12 shows the spectrum of a 10W module for medical use with a central wavelength of 446nm and a spectral width of 3.2nm

8 Fig. 12 wavelength spectrum of the 10W module intended for medical use (wavelength <450nm). The central wavelength is 446nm and the spectral width is 3.2nm (90%). 4. SUMMARY In this paper we reported on further progress regarding the development of fiber coupled visible spectrum diode lasers. Polarization coupling was used to realize a module with over 100W output power at 639nm from a 400µm NA0.22 fiber and over 40W from a 200µm NA.022 fiber. Improvements in packaging lead to fiber coupled modules in the blue spectral range of up to 25W which can be coupled to a 200µm fiber. Wavelength selection of diodes can be used to obtain wavelength distributions tailored to specific applications. The developed scalable and modular diode laser concepts can be used to further scale up power and brightness of fiber coupled visible diode lasers if demanded. For example instead of coupling two base plates at 638nm into a 400µm fiber polarization coupling can also be used to couple one plate to a 200µm fiber. All modules in the blue spectral range are still polarized, which means the brightness can immediately be doubled by polarization combining. 5. REFERENCES 1. Michael R. Hamblin, Jennifer Viveiros, Changming Yang et. Al. Helicobacter pylori Accumulates Photoactive Porphyrins and Is Killed by Visible Light, Antimicrob Agents Chemother July; 49(7): A. Richter, E. Heumann, G. Huber et. al; Power scaling of semiconductor laser pumped Praseodymium-lasers ; Optics Express, Vol. 15, Issue 8, pp (2007) 3. Wolf, P., Köhler, B., Rotter, K., et al., "High-power high-brightness and low-weight fiber coupled diode laser device", Proceedings of SPIE Vol. 7918, 79180O (2011) 4. Haag, M., Köhler, B., Biesenbach, J., et al., "Novel high-brightness fiber coupled diode laser device", Proceedings of SPIE Vol. 6456, 64560T (2007) 5. Andreas Unger,Matthias Küster,Bernd Köhler, et al. High-power fiber-coupled 100W visible spectrum diode lasers for display applications, Proc. SPIE 8605, High-Power Diode Laser Technology and Applications XI, 86050K (2013) 6. Thomas Hager ; Uwe Strauß ; Christoph Eichler,et. al. Power blue and green laser diodes and their applications, Proc. SPIE 8640, Novel In-Plane Semiconductor Lasers XII, 86400G (March 4, 2013); doi: /

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